Wed Feb 1, 2012 2:41pm
Josh Fox, whose HBO documentary “Gasland” raised questions about the safety of the natural gas drilling technique known as horizontal hydraulic fracturing, was handcuffed and led away on Wednesday as he tried to film a House Science Committee hearing on the topic.
The Capitol Police said that Mr. Fox, whose film was nominated for an Academy Award last year, was charged with unlawful entry and was being dealt with at Capitol Police headquarters. A spokeswoman for Mr. Fox said she had no further details as of early Wednesday afternoon.
Mr. Fox brought a crew to film a hearing of the energy and environment subcommittee that was looking into an Environmental Protection Agency finding that fracking, as the technique is popularly known, was probably responsible for groundwater contamination in Pavillion, Wyo.
Mr. Fox is preparing a sequel to “Gasland,” which has contributed to widespread concern about fracking, which uses large volumes of water and chemicals under high pressure to free gas deposits from underground shale.
The chairman of the subcommittee conducting the hearing, Representative Andy Harris, a Maryland Republican, objected to the presence of Mr. Fox and his crew as well as another crew under contract to ABC. A committee chairman has the discretion to bar cameras from hearings, according to a committee aide.
The hearing was broadcast at the committee’s Web site. Mr. Harris said the two crews did not have proper media credentials.
Representative Brad Miller, the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee, asked that the crews be allowed to stay and called for a vote. After a recess to round up more members, the Republicans prevailed and the cameras were barred.
“This is a public hearing!” Mr. Fox shouted as he was led away, according to several news reports. “I’m being denied my First Amendment rights.”
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