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Likely 2017 Virginia GOP Attorney General Nominee Clerked for Clarence Thomas;...

With the announcement by Del. Rob Bell (R) that he will not be seeking the 2017 Virginia GOP's Attorney General nomination, it's looking highly...

Virginia AG Mark Herring Files Motion to Dismiss Republicans’ Restoration of...

From AG Mark Herring's office, I agree that the plain language of the Virginia constitution - plain language being something Republicans usually claim they...

AG Mark Herring: Violations of Federal Sex Discrimination Laws ALSO Illegal...

From Virginia AG Mark Herring's office; great work! In an official opinion issued today at the request of Delegates Dave LaRock and Ken Plum and...

Elected Leaders Should Keep Their Word

By Sandra A. Cook Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring made a promise to constituents in October 2015 that we’d like him to keep. Back in...

Sorry, Dominion Power (and Gov. McAuliffe), New Study Finds No New...

Sorry, Dominion Power (and the company's BFF, Gov. Terry McAuliffe), the fossil-fuel jig is up. Or at least, it needs to be by the end...

NY AG Schneiderman, VA AG Mark Herring, Former VP Al Gore,...

Video to follow...great stuff, and thanks to all the Attorneys General (including our own excellent AG Mark Herring!), plus of course the man who...

AG Mark Herring to Join Other States’ AGs in “potential collaboration...

Let's hope that this press conference is about this ("Exxon Mobil Investigated for Possible Climate Change Lies by New York Attorney General"). If so,...

Maryland AG May Join New York AG in Investigating Exxon; What...

Paging Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring! Paging Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring! :) In response to a petition calling for an investigation of ExxonMobil, Maryland...
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Family Feud Grows in Roanoke

The latest kerfluffle making news in the 21st state senate district, now represented by Democrat John Edwards, is the recent cancellation of a fundraiser for Attorney General Mark Herring's One Commonwealth PAC. The fundraiser was to take place at the law offices of Ray Ferris, a Roanoke city councilman who ran the last time as an independent after serving on council as a Democrat.  There are conflicting stories about just how the fundraiser, at which John Edwards was scheduled to appear, got pulled.

According to Tommy Jordan, a long-time Democratic campaign activist who has helped Ferris in previous elections, the Edwards campaign wanted the event canceled because they said Ferris was going to use it to announce his support for Don Caldwell, 35-year veteran commonwealth's attorney for Roanoke City, who bolted the party he used to chair to run as an independent against Edwards and his Republican opponent, Dr. Nancy Dye. Jordan adamantly denied that was going to happen.  Meanwhile, Sam Barrett, campaign manager for Edwards, said that Edwards wasn't involved in the decision to pull the plug on the fundraiser.

The statement from Adam Zuckerman, the director of Herring's PAC said, "This particular event was becoming a bit of distraction for local Democrats, but Attorney General Herring strongly supports Senator Edwards's re-election."

This newest pothole in the road to Edwards retaining his seat makes me wonder if he can pull off re-election or not.  Jordan's disavowal notwithstanding, I believe that Ferris WAS going to sabotage Edwards with a Caldwell endorsement. Why? First, after he graduated from law school in the late 1980's, Ferris' first job was in Don Caldwell's office as an assistant prosecutor, staying there until he opened his own firm. They have remained fast friends. Plus, Ferris evidently has not gotten over the fact that in the last council election in May 2014 two other Democrats filed to run against the three Democratic incumbents up for re-election for the three available nominations. Thus, there would have been a primary. To avoid that, Ferris broke with the party and ran as an independent. He was joined by fellow incumbent Bill Bestpitch, who also had been elected as a Democrat.

Reversing 2013 Cuccinelli opinion, AG Herring says localities can ban fracking

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring issued an official advisory opinion on May 5 holding that Virginia localities have the right to prohibit hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking") as part of their power to regulate land use within their boundaries. The letter reverses a two-year-old opinion by former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

Herring's opinion cites §15.2-2280 of the Virginia Code, which grants broad zoning powers to localities. These include the power to "regulate, restrict, permit, prohibit, and determine" land uses, such as "the excavation or mining of soil or other natural resources." Thus, writes Herring, "I conclude that the General Assembly has authorized localities to pass zoning ordinances prohibiting fracking. The plain language of the stature also authorizes localities to regulate fracking in instances where it is permitted."

The letter is not available online as of this writing, but is expected to be posted on the Official Opinions page.

Herring's opinion comes in a letter to Senator Richard Stuart, who had asked whether Virginia law allows localities to prohibit "unconventional gas and oil drilling," commonly known as fracking, and whether they may use their zoning authority "to regulate aspects of fracking, such as the timing of drilling operations, traffic, or noise."

The letter overrules a January 11, 2013 opinion by then-Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, which held that the General Assembly had preempted localities' right to regulate or ban drilling when it passed the Virginia Gas and Oil Act.  Under §45.1-361.5, localities may not "impose any condition, or require any other local license, permit, fee, or bond to perform any gas, oil or geophysical operations which varies from or is in addition to the requirements of this chapter."