A woman named Lissa Lucas traveled 100 miles from her hometown of Cairo, West Virginia to the state capitol in Charleston Friday to testify to the House Judiciary Committee.
Lucas testified against a bill sponsored by the oil and gas industry that would allow companies to drill on minority mineral owners' land without consent from the landowner.
She represents her community from Ritchie County which has been overrun by the fracking industry. "As I tried to give my remarks at the public hearing this morning on HB 4268 in defense of our constitutional property rights, I got dragged out of House chambers," Lucas said.
"Why? Because I was listing out who has been donating to Delegates on the Judiciary Committee."
Upon reaching the podium, Lucas began by criticizing the fact that the public is only allowed 1 minute and 45 seconds while those who are pushing the bill wine and dined the delegates and were allowed to speak to them for hours at a gala.
She was referring to the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1803168179757621/">Whiskey, Wine and Policy Winter Legislative Reception</a> at the Charleston Marriott Hotel on February 7 which was coincidentally sponsored by the Shale Energy Alliance.
She also pointed out "the people who are going to be speaking in favor of this bill are all going to be paid by the industry. And the people who are going to be voting on this bill are often also paid by the industry."
"I have to keep this short because the public only gets a minute and 45 seconds while lobbyists can throw a gala at the Marriott with whiskey and wine and talk for hours to the delegates," Lucas continued.
After calling out the delegates for their bias, Lucas went on to list the dollar amounts of contributions from the oil and gas industry to the members of the House Judiciary Committee. Even the committee's chairman, John Shott, got a nice chunk of change.
"John Shott. First Energy $2,000. Appalachian Power $2,000. Steptoe & Johnson—that’s a gas and oil law firm—$2,000. Consol Energy $1,000. EQT $1,000. And I could go on," Lucas said.
Shott had enough and told her, "Miss Lucas, we ask that no personal comments be made." She replied that it was not a personal comment.
"It is a personal comment and I am going to call you out of order if you are talking about individuals on the committee," Shott said. "If you would, just address the bill. If not, I would ask you to just step down."
Lucas went right back to listing the monetary amounts of donations the delegate members received from oil and gas industry representatives. She was eventually escorted away by security guards saying, "Drag me off then."
She was taken away and not allowed to finish her speech.
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