Letter to the Editor: Why isn’t Cuccinelli defending public waterways?


“This is a civil trespassing case between private parties, and the Commonwealth of Virginia generally does not intervene in disputes between private parties.”

That is what our Attorney General’s Office wrote to the post regarding a legal case involving fishermen being sued by private property owners for fishing (trespassing) in the middle of a “public” waterway running through their property. The fishermen asked the Attorney General’s Office to join the case to defend the Commonwealth’s interest in maintaining a public waterway. The attorney general refused.

Yet, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli was more than eager to intervene in a dispute between private parties when a corporation was being sued by private landowners. Did I mention that the private corporation is CNX, which gave $80,000 plus to Cuccinelli’s bid for governor, and that Cuccinelli’s office went a bit too far in its intervention, according to a Roanoke judge, and actually began advising CNX as if his office was representing them? Seems Cuccinelli was opposed to landowners in Virginia being able to stand together as a class to sue CNX to get paid for gas taken from their land by CNX.

I wonder why Cuccinelli was able to intervene between landowners suing CNX and not landowners suing a fishermen for fishing in a public waterway. Clearly in the first case, CNX had more money. Could it be that the landowners in question in the latter case had more money, too? Or is it something else?

It would seem that allowing landowners to stand together for their private property rights would serve the common good. It would also seem that public waterways in Virginia remaining public would also serve the common good. Maybe Cuccinelli is against serving the common good. Regardless, if the attorney general will not defend public waterways in Virginia, who will?

Michael Cash, Fort Valley