THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT


Totally Fracked: Gasland Director Arrested at House Science Committee

by by Dan Stump

Josh Fox, director of the 2010 Oscar nominated documentary Gasland, was arrested today while gathering footage for his sequel, Gasland 2: The Road Warrior.  Fox was trying to videotape a House Science Committee hearing to investigate a recent EPA report that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, was responsible for the pollution of groundwater in Pavillion, WY.  According to Fox, he was unable to get the proper media credentials because the hearing was scheduled on short notice.  Despite the lack of response to his request to tape the hearing, Fox showed up at the hearing with a camera and a videographer, as did another unrelated crew from an ABC affiliate.
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Although the hearing was public and already being videotaped for C-SPAN,  the chairman of the subcommittee responsible for the hearing does have the authority to bar cameras;  however, this authority is typically only exercised in cases of overcrowding.  Today, Fox, his cameraman, and the crew from ABC were the only media in attendance.  As it was, subcommittee chair Andy Harris — Maryland Republican, fracking superfan, and part-time Waylon Smithers impersonator — objected to the presence of both camera crews.
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The committee's ranking Democrat, Representative Brad Miller, argued that the crews be permitted to stay.  After a brief recess (to gather any Republicans smoking in the bathrooms), a vote was called.  Fox was then handcuffed and led from the courtroom, reportedly yelling "This is a public hearing! I'm being denied my First Amendment rights," to which Representative Harris presumably replied with a hearty L-O-L.
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But what is fracking?  Natural gas is held in pockets of air formed in the bedrock in which it rests, much in the way that our civil liberties are encased in the bedrock of the constitution and its amendments.  It might help to imagine a fracker.  Since I already have his picture, why don't we use Rep. Harris.  If you can, mentally add a little hardhat to the image above.  Now he looks like the real fracker we all know he is.  In order to extract the contents from the bedrock, the fracker must first penetrate the bedrock with some sort of mechanical appendage, nice and deep like.  Next he pumps his noxious fracking fluid into the hole he has created in the bedrock, pumping and pumping until the rock can no longer stand the pressure of so much fracking fluid and bursts, releasing the fluid, natural gas, human rights, and mixed metaphors in every direction.  Some of that material goes to the fracker, while some of it makes its way into the local drinking water through the newly formed fractures which abound, allowing locals the luxury of water they can choose to drink or light on fire.
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Here’s to you Andy Harris, you little fracker.