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Potential Virginia State Corporation Commission an Oil and Gas Industry Lobbyist Who Testified for Atlantic Coast, Mountain Valley Pipelines

Clarke rants against those opposed to "the natural gas with which this country has been blessed"

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How many stinkin’ reasons to we need NOT to have this guy appointed to fill a “highly coveted seat on the State Corporation Commission [SCC].” A month ago, I wrote about how David W. Clarke lobbies for WellCare Health Plans Incwhich “provides managed care health plans primarily through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug plans for more than 4.4 million members across the country.”  I noted that if Clarke ends up on the powerful SCC, he will be one of a few people overseeing the regulation of health insurance plans — and likely approve double digit increases — in Virginia.

Now, we have another stinkin’ reason Clarke should not be on the SCC. Check this out:

A state conservation organization [the Virginia League of Conservation Voters] is opposing the nomination of Richmond lawyer David Clarke to serve on the State Corporation Commission because of his work for regulated oil, gas and insurance companies…

Clarke, 62, is a lawyer and member in charge at the Richmond office of Eckert Seamans, which represents the Virginia Oil & Gas Association and Columbia Gas of Virginia, as well as insurance and banking interests subject to SCC regulation…

…Clarke’s prospects were boosted this week by former Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan, the top choice of Senate Republicans, who withdrew his name and endorsed Clarke to fill the unexpired term.

So yeah, this guy not only represents powerful insurance and banking interests, but also powerful oil and gas interests. I mean, what could possibly go wrong with putting someone like THAT on one of the most powerful – but little known – regulatory bodies in Virginia.

But wait, you say, maybe Clarke’s views aren’t really that pro-oil-and-gas, just because he represents the oil and gas industry for lots of $$$. Well…check out the following testimony Clarke gave in 2017 on how the Mountain Valley Pipeline and Atlantic Coast Pipeline – both of which, in addition to being environmentally destructive, will cost ratepayers money and will likely end up as “stranded assets” in a few years – should be built. Note: bolding added by me for emphasis. After reading this, I encourage you to let your Delegate and State Senator know what you think about letting this guy anywhere near the Virginia SCC.

DEQ Public Hearing MTN Valley Pipeline August 9, 2017 VR # 5704-3 Page 32
5 MS. DAVENPORT: Thank you so much. Number
6 fifteen, please, and sixteen through twenty, can you
7 come up, please?
8 MR. CLARK: Good evening, my name is David
9 Clark, I am counsel to the Virginia Oil and
10 Association, which is the trade association
11 representing all the aspects of the natural
12 gas industry in Virginia, from the production of natural
13 gas in southwest Virginia, to the transportation
14 through interstate and intrastate pipelines and
15 distribution to your homes and your businesses that
16 rely so heavily on natural gas. The Mountain Valley
17 Pipeline is a project of tremendous importance to the
18 Commonwealth and our nation. While those who wish to 19 ban the use of all fossil fuels have raised against
20 virtually every aspect of production and transporting
21 the natural gas with which this country has been
22 blessed, electric utilities, industrial users, and
23 residents are rapidly increasing the demand for this
24 abundant, cheap, and clean source of energy. This
25 demand cannot be met without new infrastructure,
DEQ Public Hearing MTN Valley Pipeline August 9, 2017 VR # 5704-3 Page 33
1 including pipelines. As has already been pointed out
2 this evening, there are thousands of miles of
3 pipelines crisscrossing Virginia today. They have
4 been constructed, operated, and maintained safely, and
5 to the benefit of the Commonwealth and its citizens.
6 The same will be true with Mountain Valley Pipeline.
7 I have been around this industry long enough to have
8 seen similar projects undertaken and completed. Most,
9 if not all of the concerns being expressed about MVP
10 were raised when those existing pipelines were planned
11 and constructed. I submit to you that the only
12 difference here is the volume of opposition,
13 that the result of outside interests wishing
14 the production and use of all fossil fuels.
15 industry respects the rights and concerns of
16 landowners who are impacted by this project,
17 as those who make use of public lands and waters in
18 the surrounding areas, and the industry is committed
19 to minimizing those impacts. MVP has invested
20 significant resources and time working with numerous
21 state agencies and federal agencies as well as local
22 governments, in developing plans to minimize the
23 environmental impacts of this project. That work will
24 continue. Any project of this type and scale involves
25 the balancing of interests. The proponents of MVP and
DEQ Public Hearing MTN Valley Pipeline August 9, 2017 VR # 5704-3 Page 34
1 the natural gas industry are confident the DEQ can and
2 will carefully balance those interests as it completes
3 its review of this project. We urge you to strike a
4 balance that provides reasonable protection of water
5 resources without unreasonably burdening this crucial
6 project, or preventing it from moving forward. Thank
7 you.

DEQ Public Hearing ATL Coast Pipeline August 14, 2017 VR # 5704-5 Page 89

16 MS. DAVENPORT: Number forty-six, please.
17 MR. CLARKE: Good evening, thank you for the
18 opportunity to speak to you tonightI had the
19 privilege of speaking last week regarding the Mountain
20 Valley Pipeline, and I’m here tonight to likewise
21 support the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. My name is David
22 Clarke.
23 I am an attorney. I live in Richmond,
24 Virginia, and I am counsel to the Virginia Oil and Gas
25 Association. VOGA is the trade association
DEQ Public Hearing ATL Coast Pipeline August 14, 2017 VR # 5704-5 Page 90
1 representing all aspects of the natural gas industry
2 in the Commonwealth, from those that work to produce
3 natural gas in southwest Virginia to those who
4 transport that through pipelines and other
5 infrastructure, to those who distribute gas to you in
6 your homes and your businesses.
7 Including, I might add, Virginia Natural
8 Gas, who is a customer or will be a customer on this
9 pipeline if successfully completed. And Virginia
10 Natural Gas has experienced situations in which they
11 have had to turn off certain interruptible customers
12 because there has been a lack of gas supply to that
13 part of the state.
14 The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a project of
15 tremendous importance to the Commonwealth and our
16 nation. While those who wish to ban the use of all
17 fossil fuels have raised against virtually every
18 aspect of producing and transporting the natural gas
19 with which this country has been blessed, electric and
20 gas utilities, industrial users, and residents are
21 rapidly increasing the demand for this abundant,
22 affordable, and clean source of energy.
23 This demand cannot be met without new
24 infrastructure including pipelines. It’s already been
25 pointed out this evening that there are thousands of
DEQ Public Hearing ATL Coast Pipeline August 14, 2017 VR # 5704-5 Page 91
1 miles crisscrossing the Commonwealth today of
2 pipelines. They’ve been constructed, operated, and
3 maintained safely and to the benefit of the
4 Commonwealth and its citizens.
5 The same will be true with the Atlantic
6 Coast Pipeline. I’ve been around this industry long
7 enough to have seen similar projects undertaken and
8 completed. Most, if not all of the concerns being
9 expressed about ACP were raised when those existing
10 pipelines were planned and constructed.
11 I submit to you that the only difference 
12 here is the volume of opposition, must of that the
13 result of interests wishing to stop the production and
14 use of fossil fuels. The industry respects the rights
15 and concerns of landowners who are impacted by this
16 project, as well as those who make use of the public
17 lands and waters in the surrounding areas.
18 And the industry is committed to minimizing
19 those impacts. ACP has invested significant resources
20 and time working with numerous state and federal
21 agencies as well as local governments in developing
22 plans to minimize the environmental impacts of this
23 project.
24 That work will continue. Any project of
25 this type and scale involves the balancing of
DEQ Public Hearing ATL Coast Pipeline August 14, 2017 VR # 5704-5 Page 92
1 interests. Proponents of ACP and the natural gas
2 industry are confident that DEQ can and will carefully
3 balance those interests as it completes its review of
4 this project. Thank you.
[END TESTIMONY OF DAVID CLARKE]