West Virginia Candidate Removed From hearing After Speaking Out Against Oil & Gas Drilling Legislation

February 12, 2018
Rebecca Savransky

A candidate for the West Virginia House of Delegates was reportedly cut off and removed from a hearing last week in the state's lower chamber on a piece of legislation regarding oil and gas drilling on private land.

During her testimony, Lissa Lucas spoke about her opposition to a bill that would require the approval of only 75 percent of landowners for oil and gas companies to drill on private land, according to the Huffington Post.

Currently, 100 percent of landowners in the state need to give approval, it added.

Lucas, a Democratic candidate in West Virginia's 7th District, also listed donations that state lawmakers have received from oil and gas companies, the news outlet added.

She was reportedly told during her testimony that she should not be making "personal comments" regarding members of the House Judiciary Committee.

“The people who are going to be speaking in favor of this bill are all going to be paid by the industry,” Lucas said, according to the Huffington Post.

“The people who are going to be voting on this bill are often also paid by the industry," she added.

“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,” she added.

Her microphone was cut off during her testimony and her request for more time was denied, according to the Huffington Post.

She then told lawmakers to "drag me off."

On her personal blog, Lucas wrote that as she tried to give her remarks in defense of "constitutional property rights," she was "dragged out of House chambers."

“Allow me to point out that if Delegates genuinely think that my talking about who their campaign donors are ― and how much they’re receiving from corporate lobbyists/corporate PACs ― is an ad hominem attack … then they should be refusing those donations," she wrote.

She also wrote that lawmakers should refuse any donation that, "if someone mentions it, makes you feel personally attacked."

“Because that’s not an attack. That’s guilt. And you SHOULD be feeling that. Let that guilt about who you’re really working for inform your votes; don’t let the corporate money do it.”

The committee passed the bill, which now awaits votes by the full House and state Senate.