Dominion Virginia Power payed to send DEQ Director David Paylor to the U.S. Masters Golf Tournament in 2013, according to WAMU in Washington, D.C.
The D.C. based news organization said that financial disclosure records indicate Dominion gave Paylor $2,300 to attend the golf tournament and went on to float a $1,200 bill at a pub called O’Toole’s in Augusta Georgia.
The revelations regarding the relationship between Dominion and Paylor came days after 17 students were arrested during a sit in protest at the DEQ headquarters downtown. The protesters were advocating that Paylor step down after the DEQ issued controversial permits that allow Dominion Power to dump wastewater from coal ash ponds in the James and Potomac Rivers.
The controversial permits also resulted in protest on the grounds of the capitol in February.
DEQ spokesman Bill Hayden indicated that the financial disclosure was the DEQ simply following the letter of the law.
“Mr. Paylor fully disclosed, as required by law, that Dominion paid for his ticket to the Masters golf tournament in 2013,” Hayden said, adding that Paylor had no conflict of interest for issuing the permits.
“There is no conflict of interest here, and there is no problem with DEQ issuing the permits,” Hayden said.
According to Hayden, Paylor is just one individual who could have an effect on the permit process.
“Permits are written and enforced by a staff of professionals who focus on protecting the environment,” Hayden said. “Mr. Paylor joins the 800 other DEQ employees who take their environmental protection responsibilities very seriously.”
According to Dominion spokesperson Rob Richardson, Dominion has supported the transparency system known as VPAP that helped disclose this information.
Richardson says that the entire reason for the series of controversial permits is compliance with an EPA ruling that mandates coal ash ponds be drained.
“Dominion, like the DEQ, Potomac Riverkeeper, James River Association and many others, believe in protecting the environment,” Richardson said.
Dominion did not offer a response as to why they payed for the trip.
Environmental activists have expressed anger with the news from the disclosure.
Michael James-Deramo, president of the VCU chapter of the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition, said that this gift was symbolic of a widespread issue.
“Paylor, like nearly every politician in our state has received money or gifts from Dominion,” James-Deramo said.
James-Deramo believes that the gift shows a conflict of Interest.
“As the DEQ’s role is to directly regulate Dominion, this is a serious conflict of interest,” James-Deramo said. “As the Director of the Department of Environmental Quality, Dave Paylor must commit to taking no further money or gifts from Dominion.”
James-Deramo said the permits issued by the DEQ earlier this year have been negligent and that the DEQ had failed its responsibility.
“In the view of the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition, anything less is not doing his job. If Paylor cannot adhere to these demands he must resign,” James Deramo said.
Staff Writer, Andrew Crider
Andrew is a junior economics major who has written for student newspapers since he was in high school. Andrew is interested in political history, aviation, photography and running. He has a tendency to refer to his peers, coworkers and bosses as “ma’am” or “sir,” but is getting better about referring to his friends at the CT by their first names instead. // Facebook