Terry McAuliffe’s campaign for governor launched a new ad Monday accusing Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II of betraying southwest Virginia, as the Democrat seeks to capitalize on an ongoing controversy over natural gas royalties.
The dispute at the center of the ad is over how — and whether — landowners should be paid royalties by natural gas companies who extract coal-bed methane from their land. Cuccinelli (R) became ensnared in the issue when a federal judge expressed shock at the advice and assistance an assistant attorney general from Cuccinelli’s office was giving to two energy companies embroiled in a lawsuit.
The ad features Shirley Keene of Raven, Va., who has been battling for several years over royalties from methane gas on her land. She complains that she hasn’t “seen one penny” in royalties so far.
“Ken Cuccinelli’s office was giving information to the energy companies to fight us,” Keene says. “Then Cuccinelli got $100,000 for his Governor’s campaign. He has made it perfectly clear he cannot be trusted. When you help an energy company against the people that have elected you to office that is wrong, you have let your people down, you have let the community down, and I do not trust him.”