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Wed Feb 1, 2012, 08:21 PM

Josh Fox's Statement after being arrested for filming a public congressional hearing. 2/1/12

From Huffington Post..
Journalist arrested today..


Josh Fox, meanwhile, has issued the following statement to the press:

I was arrested today for exercising my First Amendment rights to freedom of the press on Capitol Hill. I was not expecting to be arrested for practicing journalism. Today's hearing in the House Energy and Environment subcommittee was called to examine EPAs 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. I featured the stories of residents John Fenton, Louis Meeks and Jeff Locker in GASLAND and I have continued to document the catastrophic water contamination in Pavillion for the upcoming sequel GASLAND 2. It would seem that the Republican leadership was using this hearing to attack the three year Region 8 EPA investigation involving hundreds of samples and extensive water testing which ruled that Pavillion's groundwater was a health hazard, contaminated by benzene at 50x the safe level and numerous other contaminants associated with gas drilling. Most importantly, EPA stated in this case that fracking was the likely cause.
As a filmmaker and journalist I have covered hundreds of public hearings, including Congressional hearings. It is my understanding that public speech is allowed to be filmed. Congress should be no exception. No one on Capitol Hill should regard themselves exempt from the Constitution. The First Amendment to the Constitution states explicitly "Congress shall make no law...that infringes on the Freedom of the Press". Which means that no subcommittee rule or regulation should prohibit a respectful journalist or citizen from recording a public hearing.

This was an act of civil disobedience, yes done in an impromptu fashion, but at the moment when they told me to turn off the cameras, I could not. I know my rights and I felt it was imperative to exercise them.

When I was led out of the hearing room in handcuffs, John Boehner's pledge of transparency in congress was taken out with me.

The people of Pavillion deserve better. The thousands across the US who have documented cases of water contamination in fracking areas deserve their own hearing on Capitol hill. They deserve the chance to testify in before Congress. The truth that fracking contaminates groundwater is out, and no amount of intimidation tactics --either outright challenges to science or the arrest of journalists --will put the genie back in the bottle. Such a brazen attempt to discredit and silence the EPA, the citizens of Pavillion and documentary filmmaking will ultimately fail and it is an affront to the health and integrity of Americans.

Lastly, in defense of my profession, I will state that many many Americans get their news from independent documentaries. The hill should immediately move to make hearings and meetings accessible to independent journalists and not further obstruct the truth from being reported in the vivid and in depth manner that is only achievable through long form documentary filmmaking.

I will be thinking on this event further and will post further thoughts and developments.

I have been charged with "unlawful entry" and my court date is February 15.

Josh Fox
Washington D.C.
2/1/12

17 replies, 3752 views

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Wed Feb 1, 2012, 08:26 PM

1. The republicans should be tried for violations of civil rights

and I really do not care that they are elected officials
personal fines and jail time is called for

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Wed Feb 1, 2012, 08:37 PM

2. Du rec. Nt

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Wed Feb 1, 2012, 08:37 PM

3. It makes no sense that you can inject chemicals

into ground water that you cannot dispose of in surface water.

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Wed Feb 1, 2012, 08:42 PM

4. Josh's profession needs no defense, documentary film is a key element in the free

press of our time, and he is correct that the Congress should count them as the journalists they are.

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Wed Feb 1, 2012, 09:39 PM

5. every member of that committee who went along with this, or instigated it, should be recalled at

once. they should all go to jail, and have to read and be tested on the constitution every single day until they demonstrate an actual knowledge of that document.

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Wed Feb 1, 2012, 09:56 PM

6. Were there no Democrats at the hearing?

 

What is the moral stance of the party to which we (ostensibly) adhere?

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Response to cbrer (Reply #6)

Wed Feb 1, 2012, 11:34 PM

7. That was what I was wondering as well. So I looked it up.

So here are the Democratic knuckleheads who stood by and let this happen without a whimper.

Democrats on that subcommittee are (which the ReThuglican Chair called the "Democrat Members" on his website) as follows:

Brad Miller, NC, Ranking Member
Lynn C. Woolsey, CA
Ben Ray Lujan, NM
Paul D. Tonko, NY
Zoe Lofgren, CA
Jerry McNerney, CA

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Reply #7)

Thu Feb 2, 2012, 12:40 AM

8. The democrats DID object. And Miller is trying to get him back into the hearing room. n/t

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Response to Tx4obama (Reply #8)


Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Thu Feb 2, 2012, 12:43 AM

9. Gasland’s Josh Fox Fires Back At Congressional Republicans After Arrest - VIDEO


VIDEO here: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/gaslands-josh-fox-fires-back-at-congressional-republicans-for-arresting-him-at-fracking-hearing/


In an interview with MSNBC’s Ed Schultz, Gasland director Josh Fox publicly responded to being forcibly ejected from a hydrofracking hearing in Congress Wednesday. “I didn’t expect to be arrested for documentary filmmaking and journalism on Capitol Hill,” Fox told Schultz. “I was prepared for it but didn’t expect it. I did think they would come to our senses and let them film the hearing. We were there covering a very crucial hearing about a case of groundwater contamination in Pavilion, Wyoming, 3 1/2 year investigation by the EPA shows subjects from the first film from Pavilion, with groundwater contamination resulting in 50 times the level of benzene in groundwater and EPA pointed in this case that hydraulic fracturing is the likely cause. What was happening today, Republicans called in the Science, Space and Technology Committee to a hearing to challenge science. Their panel was made up of gas industry lobbyists. We were there to expose what I believe is ugly and brazen attack on science itself, on what is happening across the country, with hydraulic fracturing. We were there doing our jobs. I was not interested in disrupting the hearing, was not charged with that. was simply interested in capturing on film in a broadcast quality camera, what the Republicans were going to be doing right there, putting the EPA and citizens of Pavilion and everyone across the nation who is complaining of contamination due to hydraulic fracturing on trial. We wanted to make sure people knew it was happening.” ... SNIP



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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Thu Feb 2, 2012, 04:34 AM

11. The rule of the whims of the rich are very powerful.

The whims of the CEOs involved with fracking are the rule of the day. Stand by for when their whims may change.

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Thu Feb 2, 2012, 04:39 AM

12. "John Boehner's pledge of transparency in congress was taken out with me. "

LOL

sorry, I can't help it, that's just really funny.

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Thu Feb 2, 2012, 07:55 AM

13. K & R!

Josh is correct. He should not be charged. I hope his new documentary comes out very soon, to bring light to this.

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Thu Feb 2, 2012, 09:20 AM

14. I'll bet the charge gets dropped

There is no way in hell repugs will let this spin out of control. The don't have the courage.

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Thu Feb 2, 2012, 12:08 PM

15. Did C-Span record the hearing?

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Thu Feb 2, 2012, 12:33 PM

16. good post ..nt

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Thu Feb 2, 2012, 07:23 PM

17. When I was growing up, we were told this was how people in Communist China and Communist Russia were

treated.

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