- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
Coal returns as a Virginia campaign issue
Cuccinelli ad attacks rival McAuliffe’s ‘war’ on key state industry
Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II tried to repackage a bread-and-butter issue for many Virginians — the state’s coal industry — with a new tone Thursday and put the energy issue back at the forefront of the governor’s race.
An ad attacking businessman Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate, for a purported “war on coal” briefly shows an image of President Obama, followed by flashes of workers and a clip of Mr. McAuliffe saying during his unsuccessful 2009 gubernatorial campaign that “we have got to move past coal.”
The GOP is trying to seize on a report from Bloomberg News this week that a revised plan from the Environmental Protection Agency to limit carbon emissions would effectively outlaw the construction of new coal-fired power plants in the country, according to people who have been briefed on the plan.
“Republicans understand that one of the keys to a growing economy and a stronger middle class is affordable energy, and Democrats across the country are on notice that they will be held to account for supporting job-killing policies like President Obama’s war on coal,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Thursday.
Mr. McAuliffe has said this year that he wants to make sure the state has a healthy coal workforce and his campaign has said he would be concerned about plans from Mr. Obama that would increase utility costs in the state or force the shuttering of Virginia plants.
Still, Mr. Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate, is not without his own vulnerabilities on the issue.
The state inspector general is investigating the role of an attorney in Mr. Cuccinelli’s office who provided advice to two out-of-state natural gas companies currently battling farmers in the southwestern part of the state over royalties.
“If Ken Cuccinelli was serious about putting Virginians first, he would have fought for them in this case,” the Democratic Party of Virginia said in a statement Thursday. “Instead, his office was coordinating with the lawyers opposing them and representing one of his largest donors. Misleading attack ads won’t undo that betrayal.”
A federal judge also expressed frustration in court Thursday that a settlement had not yet been reached in the case.
Sharon Pigeon, a senior assistant attorney general, communicated via email dozens of times with attorneys representing the energy companies, but Mr. Cuccinelli’s office says she was merely offering guidance on the Virginia Gas and Oil Act.
“In the process of suing the gas companies, the lawyers representing the property owners tried to have the Virginia Gas and Oil Act declared unconstitutional,” spokesman Brian Gottstein said. “If they had been successful, most of the property owners wouldn’t get any royalty payments, so our office intervened in the case to uphold the constitutionality of the act, as is our legal obligation.”
A group called NextGen Climate Action Committee, backed by billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer of San Francisco, is behind a million-dollar campaign against Mr. Cuccinelli involving ads and a series of odd publicity stunts that seek to exploit the case.
Republicans have derided Mr. Steyer’s involvement in the campaign, and Mr. Gottstein said the office’s interest in the case is to resolve it quickly.
“As counsel to the Virginia Gas and Oil Board, [Ms. Pigeon] represents the board’s interest in getting gas ownership issues resolved sooner rather than later, and she was offering her thoughts on how the attorneys could convey to the court that a years-long class action suit would not resolve the ownership disputes which keep the royalties in escrow,” Mr. Gottstein said in a memo. “While the attorney general has characterized the tone of her emails as a bit overzealous, he believes there was nothing wrong with her sharing the information she did in her emails.”
• This article is based in part on wire service reports.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Sherfinski covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com.
- Senate approves 10-year extension of ban on plastic guns
- Israel's Netanyahu still wary of West's deal with Iran
- Former Reagan aide James Baker: President regretted apartheid veto
- Ezekiel Emanuel: If you want to pay more for your doctor, you can under Obamacare
- Sen. Richard Durbin: No line in the sand on unemployment benefits
Latest Blog Entries
By Tom Fitton
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
- WOLF: The president's other Obamacare lies
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- MILLER: Brady Campaign says Colorado recalls due to NRA, not grassroots opposition to gun control
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow