West Virginia Gas Companies Wined and Dined Lawmakers Before Scoring Favorable Fracking Legislation

This post courtesy of DeSmog

A country club luncheon. A $130 steak dinner. A whiskey tasting. Dinner at an historic neo-Georgian mansion.

These are just a few examples of the many occasions last year when oil and gas lobbyists wined and dined West Virginia state lawmakers on key committees that craft fossil fuel legislation. Lobbyists representing industry players including natural gas giant EQT, Antero Resources, TransCanada, and multiple oil and gas trade associations wooed state lawmakers with thousands of dollars’ worth of food and drink throughout 2017, according to lobbying records obtained by DeSmog.

In early 2018, just months after some of these fancy gatherings took place, most oil and gas companies got something they wanted: A “co-tenancy” bill, HB 4268, that allows these companies to drill for natural gas on private land with the consent of only 75 percent of the landowners. The powerful fossil fuel industry in the state often secures favorable treatment from politicians of both parties whom they lobby — and to whom their corporate political action committees donate.

In a February 9 public hearing held by the House Judiciary Committee on the hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) bill, West Virginia resident and first-time House of Delegates* candidate Lissa Lucas began to list campaign donations that committee members had received from fossil fuel interests. Her recitation didn’t last long, as Chairman John Shott had her removed, alleging these publicly available statistics were “personal.” A video of these events went viral online.

Click here to read the full post on DeSmogBlog.com


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  1. Why not increase the Severance Tax to close the state’s budget shortfall? Most of the oil, gas and coal is produced by out of state companies and sold to out of state consumers.

  2. @ Andrew: He is associated with the Norwood Resource, a pro-gas industry “education charity. The people who oppose fracking have nothing to gain except clean air, water and a safe climate. Gas lobbyists have become the loudest voices in closing off coal as they hope to portray gas as a cleaner fuel. It may be, if it didn’t leak and escape into the atmosphere. Reality is that we have to stop all fossil fuel pollution by mid century or we risk permanent damage to the climate system. East coast supply issues are about gas companies selling our gas cheaper to Asia than they do to us. The supply issue is the result of gas export contracts and the same people who manufactured that is also trying to make the solution from coal to gas in the Pedirka basin. Potentially killing national heritage listed Dalhousie hot springs Fracking is dangerous and polluting. It has made many oil and gas barons rich in the states but risked water, communities and seismic safety. Our farming and tourist industries are more important than the gas fracking industry. We have abundant sun and we should focus on solar. It is well known that we can’t exploit our known reserves of fossil fuels without blowing the global carbon budget, let alone finding and developing new ones. Let’s hope the NT Government makes a sensible decision to extend the moratorium indefinitely. View Comment

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