Lissa Lucas traveled the 100 miles from her home in Cairo, West Virginia to the state capitol in Charleston yesterday to testify against an oil and gas industry sponsored bill (HB 4268) that would allow companies to drill on minority mineral owners’ land without their consent.
Lucas began to testify to the House Judiciary Committee, but a few minutes in, her microphone was turned off.
And Lucas was dragged out of the room.
Lucas is running for the House of Delegates 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.”
Lucas took to the podium and began by pointing out that “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,” Lucas said.
“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 said.
(Lucas was referring to the Whiskey, Wine and Policy Winter Legislative Reception at the Charleston Marriott Hotel on February 7 sponsored by the Shale Energy Alliance.)
Lucas then began to read the oil and gas donations to the members of the House Judiciary Committee, including the chairman, John Shott (R-Mercer).
“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.”
No she couldn’t.
Because at that point, Shott had enough.
“Miss Lucas, we ask that no personal comments be made,” Shott said.
“This is not a personal comment,” Lucas said.
“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 barged ahead to Delegate Jason Harshbarger (R-7) – who she will face off against in November for the seat from Ritchie County. Harshbarger works for Dominion Energy.
“About 40 percent of his money (campaign contributions) comes from the oil and natural gas industry,” Lucas said.
Shott then ordered Lucas removed from the room and two security guys approached her and began to lead her out.
“I want to finish,” Lucas said.
The security guards said she would have to leave.
“Drag me off then,” Lucas said.
And they did.