Democratic Party candidate for West Virginia’s House of Delegates, Lissa Lucas was removed on Friday from a state senate hearing for revealing the amount of money that legislators supporting a pro-oil and gas industry bill are receiving from that industry.
The video of the comment made by Lucas has gone viral and served as a launching pad for her campaign. In the video Lucas begins by saying, “I’d also like to point 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.”
Lissa Lucas then poignantly notes that she is limited to 1 minute forty five seconds to speak while lobbyists can “throw a gala at the Marriott” and speak to politicians for hours. Just that week oil industry lobbyists held a whiskey and wine gala at the Marriott to garner support for the bill.
Prior to the incident, she had raised just $4000, however since then, the figure has jumped to $46,000.
The bill which Lissa Lucas opposed (HB4268) has since been passed by the West Virginia House of Delegates.
The law makes it easier for the oil and gas industry to obtain mineral rights from private landowners as a precursor to drilling and has the support of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association.
As Nation of Change reported, the law enables oil and gas companies to perform more hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) on private land in the state by mandating that, rather than securing land lease contracts from all landowners, companies only need 75 percent of those living in an area to sign leases and are granted the remaining 25 percent by default.
During the days following the removal of Lissa Lucas, both the West Virginia Legislature and congressional delegation took steps to advance a proposal to create a refining hub in the state which will be fueled by fracked oil from the Marcellus and Utica shale basins.
The project is set to receive $83.7 billion in capital from China.
On February 7 after DeSmog had published an investigation into the proposed Appalachian Storage Hub, the West Virginia House of delegates introduced a resolution which calls upon Congress to pass various pieces of legislation which creates favourable conditions for the hub.
On the same day as the Lucas incident, U.S Senator Joe Manchin who is a backer of the federal bills wrote a letter asking the Senate Appropriations Committee to support and continue funding the Department of Energy Title XVII loan guarantee program.
Manchin who is up for re-election in November has lauded the Energy departments $1.9 billion loan guarantee to develop the hub in West Virginia.
As Nation of Change reported:
The day after introducing the Appalachian Ethane Storage Hub Study Act, Manchin received a $10,000 campaign contribution from the American Chemistry Council – a major lobbying force behind the prospective hub whose membersinclude ExxonMobil, Shell Oil, Chevron, Dow Chemical, and Monsanto. The Storage Hub Study Act is among those supported by the West Virginia House of Delegates resolution.
The American Chemistry Council recently announced that the Chinese state-owned petrochemical company Wanhua Chemical had joined as a dues-paying member, giving it new powers to influence the U.S. political and electoral systems via the trade group.
In West Virginia it’s Lissa Lucas versus China, the American Chemistry Council, and oil and gas money loving state legislators. If you want to support Lucas be sure to check out her website.