Sec. of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, withholds info from lawmakers while launching massive overhaul of the Department of the Interior

Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz and Rep. Donald McEachin, D-Va., “sent Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke a letter on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, accusing Zinke of withholding key information from lawmakers while launching a massive overhaul of his department. The letter demanded that Zinke freeze the reorganization until he provides more information to Congress, which has the final say over the plan.”

FILE–In this Feb. 9, 2018, file photo,U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke speaks during an conservation announcement at the Western Conservation and Hunting Expo Friday in Salt Lake City. On Monday, Feb. 12, 2018, the Interior Department released budget documents showing Zinke plans to press ahead with a massive overhaul of his department, including a plan to relocate some officials from Washington to the West and creating a new organizational map that mostly ignores state boundaries. Rick Bowmer, file AP Photo
Interior to implement massive overhaul despite criticism

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  1. “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.”



    • THANK YOU IcySpots

      Lissa Lucas for WV House was dragged out of the #WV Chambers because she shared public information about the gas industry’s donations to our Delegates. Lissa is a landowner that has a special stake in #HB4268 & has every right to speak out against it! Is it OK to manhandle & censor a woman fighting to protect her community? It’s up to US to support her & keep her voice going!


  2. [video src="https://d21rhj7n383afu.cloudfront.net/washpost-production/West_Virginia_Legislature/20180212/5a81766be4b0b7dec5daeabf/5a81767be4b0febfea16de9f_1439412357318-vhunw0_t_1518433922224_854_480_1200.mp4" /]


  3. Protected lands generate big-time revenue
    In Alaska, sustainable recreation dollars help advocates for protected areas.

    “Recent reports from Utah, Montana and other states show national parks and monuments driving economic activity and visitors spending billions of dollars annually, supporting tens of thousands of jobs. In Alaska, economists profiled a billion-dollar tourism industry orbiting around parks and wilderness areas. They recommended preserving wilderness character on Alaska’s public lands to maintain their economic output. Imagine that.

    America is on first-name terms with many communities thriving from their proximity to protected lands, including Moab, Whitefish and Jackson. But scores of less-familiar communities also benefit, with visitation fueling opportunity and government revenue in rural areas where making a living has never been easy.

    Against this backdrop, the current administration hacks away at national monuments, and Congress acts to loosen rules and reduce public input on national forest logging. In Alaska, Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan misleadingly promise that drilling in the prized Arctic National Wildlife Refuge can help fund national tax cuts.

    Who should benefit most from public lands? Small businesses and towns in rural communities at the edge of America’s best idea? Or international corporations out to unearth more dangerous carbon, benefitting a wealthy few?

    For many people, protected areas provide an escape from commerce. But we should not ignore the dollar value of wilderness — a new kind of “fierce green fire” that today ignites rural economies.”



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