State Briefs

Kessler endorses Justice

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Democratic nominee for West Virginia governor Jim Justice has the endorsement of one of two opponents he defeated in his party’s primary.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that Jeff Kessler endorsed Justice on Friday, while Booth Goodwin remains undecided.

Kessler, the state Senate minority leader, says Justice would be a necessary check on a Republican-led Legislature, should the GOP keep control. Republican Senate President Bill Cole faces Justice in November as his party’s gubernatorial nominee.

Kessler says he wishes Justice was more progressive.

Goodwin, the former U.S. attorney, said he’s still working through whom to support in the race. He said he wants to hear more specifics from the candidates.

Charlotte Pritt of the Mountain Party and Libertarian candidate David Moran are also on the ballot for governor.

PAC’s $234k ad hits W. Va. GOP nominee

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A national group that boosts Democratic candidates for governor is hitting West Virginia Republican nominee Bill Cole with $233,700 in negative TV ads.

State campaign finance disclosures show the Democratic Governors Association is funding the ad currently running under the name Good Jobs West Virginia. It’s the Democratic governor group’s first major foray into the race.

The ad claims Cole, the state Senate president, misspent $500,000 on a variety of items at the Capitol. The Cole campaign called it misleading and pointed out several official uses for the spending.

The rival Republican Governors Association has spent almost $1.1 million so far backing Cole and attacking the Democratic nominee, billionaire businessman Jim Justice.

Groups reach $6M West Virginia coal mine cleanup deal

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — A $6 million settlement has been reached in federal court that will restore damage from West Virginia mountaintop removal mines.

The Sierra Club, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and West Virginia Highlands Conservancy announced the settlement with the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund. A consent decree was entered Friday in U.S. District Court in Huntington.

The Legacy Fund bought the coal mines involved from bankrupt Patriot Coal last year. The agreement resolves a Clean Water Act lawsuit originally filed against the coal company.

Appalachian Headwaters will lead reclamation, including stream restoration and reforestation. The Legacy Fund won’t conduct surface mining, except to aid reclamation.

Environmental groups say it allows a three-and-a-half year extension to decrease the amount of selenium in surface water.

The settlement involves a site in Boone and Lincoln counties where Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has proposed building a business park.

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