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Letter to the Editor: Standing up for the 'vulnerable and those in need'


Editor:

In a recent ad, our attorney general's wife tells us that he has spent his career standing up for the "vulnerable and those in need." I'll bet the cash-strapped landowners in Virginia's coal fields would be surprised to learn that.

Seems our Attorney General's Office has been assisting the big coal companies in a lawsuit filed by those landowners that attempts to get the big coal companies, EQT Production Co. and CNX Gas Co. (which is owned by Consol Energy Inc.), to pay for what they have taken from them.

Seems EQT and CNX have not paid the landowners for the methane gas that they have extracted from the landowners.

According to news reports, U.S. Magistrate Pamela Meade Sargent has found that our Attorney General's Office has been helping EQT and CNX defend themselves from this suit. Seems that when confronted with this finding, the Attorney General's Office says it was merely trying to help uphold the constitutionality of The Virginia Gas and Oil Act, without which, according to that office, the landowners would not be entitled to any royalties.

The judge thought differently when she viewed emails between the Attorney General's Office, which represents the Virginia Oil and Gas Board, and the attorneys for EQT and CNX when she wrote in an opinion, "Shockingly, these emails show that the board, or at least [Assistant Attorney General Sharon] Pigeon, has been actively involved in assisting EQT and CNX with the defense of these cases, including offering advice on and providing information for use on the motions before the court."

Seems our Attorney General's office was advising the company's lawyers on what to do in response to the landowners petitioning the court for a class action lawsuit. One can only wonder what such has to do with standing up for the vulnerable and those in need. But then maybe it is the oil companies who are vulnerable. Seems CNX has given our attorney general somewhere in excess of $80,000 for his bid to be our governor. I, for one, would hope our next governor would not sell us out so cheaply.

Michael Cash, Fort Valley


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