A woman has been thrown out of a government town hall in West Virginia for reading out the state’s political donations from oil and gas corporations.
Lissa Lucas, a local resident and a Democratic candidate in this year’s primaries, had prepared a testimony on a bill that would allow gas companies to drill on minority mineral owners’ land without consent.
Ms Lucas strongly opposed the move which would change the current law that requires companies to get 100 per cent approval from all owners of land before they drill.
She initially criticised the lack of time given to debate the proposals before she went on to list the donations from oil and gas companies to members of West Virginia’s Republican-controlled lower house.
“John Shott. First Energy $2,000. Appalachian Power $2,000. Steptoe and Johnson, that’s a gas and oil law firm, $2,000. Consol Energy $1,000, EQT $1,000. And I could go on,” Ms Lucas said.
John Shott, the head of the House Judiciary Committee, interrupted her and said that “no personal comments should be made”.
Ms Lucas disagreed and said she had not made a personal comment – a response Mr Scott disputed.
“It is a personal comment and I am going to call you out of order if you are talking about individuals on the committee,” Mr Scott warned. “If you would, just address the bill. If not, I would ask you to just step down.”
When Ms Lucas continued to list the donors Mr Shott called for her microphone to be cut off.
Two security guards approached Ms Lucas and told her she needed to leave.
The bill was passed out of committee later and is expected to make it through both West Virginia’s lower House and the state Senate.