Will 2016 Be the Year West Virginia Breaks Free of the Fossil Fuel Cartel?

Even before the 2016 gubernatorial race begins in earnest, Senate President Bill Cole (R – Mercer) has already received substantial contributions from oil and gas interests in West Virginia. He has been endorsed by a super PAC that has so far raised $70,600 ($10,000 from oil and gas interests), and he has been backed by the West Virginia Coal Association. He has also spoken to high-end donors at an exclusive retreat organized by affiliates of the Koch brothers, two conservative billionaires who own a vast empire of oil and natural gas interests. Read

Cole is one of the many state politicians from both political parties who have filled their campaign war chests with money from the fossil fuel industry over the years. But this year, there are some candidates running for state office without backing from the fossil fuel industry. Instead, they are running on a platform of diversifying the state's economy.

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