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Gasland documentary director, Josh Fox, was arrested on Wednesday, February 1, for what he claims is practicing his First Amendment right. According to usnews.com, the Wayne County filmmaker was arrested in the U.S. Capitol Building after attempting to film a congressional hearing linked with hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.
Fox says that after he filed for permission to film the hearing, he never received a response, which prompted him to attempt to film anyway. Capitol Police reported his arrest under unlawful entry, while Fox stated that he was only practicing journalism, according to media reports.
“I was not expecting to be arrested for practicing journalism. Today’s hearing in the House Energy and Environment subcommittee was called to examine EPA’s findings that hydraulic fracturing fluids had contaminated groundwater in the town of Pavillion, Wyoming.
I have a long history with the town of Pavillion and its residents who have maintained since 2008 that fracking has contaminated their water supply.” Said Fox regarding the arrest and congressional hearing, “I was arrested today for exercising my First Amendment rights to freedom of the press on Capitol Hill.”
During an interview, MSNBC host, Ed Schultz, discovered that the filming was being done in order to be featured in a follow-up documentary called Gasland II, also directed by Fox, which is said to be close to completion. Also during the interview, Fox said that the hearing was going to be led by a Republican subcommittee and that he believed they were going to be attacking the EPA.
Fox was originally inspired to create Gasland after receiving a request to lease his land out for drilling. His website, www.gaslandthemovie.com, claims that after receiving the request, he then traveled up the coast, visiting various different fracking sites and the communities within the surrounding areas. He documented the fracking process and the possible effects the process takes on communities’ drinking water.
Fracking, as the website defines, is the act of drilling for natural gas extraction, utilizing millions of gallons of water, sand, and proprietary chemicals blasted into deep wells. This process causes the rock and shale to fracture, thus emitting the gases within. For every frack that is completed, anywhere from 80-300 chemicals can be used.
However, due to the Haliburton Loophole, the companies involved in the drilling do not have to disclose the chemicals that are used. The website also claims that there have been over 1,000 reports by courts and governments of contaminated well water within communities surrounding fracking sites.
Fox has become a conflict ridden character within Wayne County, his home. Where some people see him as an activist, others claim he is merely using Gasland as his ride to fame and fortune. The trailer for the film here may help you base your own opinions.