John Fox, director of the documentary Gasland, was arrested during a Republican-dominated congressional hearing on Wednesday, raising questions about the hearing's public access. The Gasland director was arrested and escorted out of the House science committee room after he refused to stop filming the hearing, which was being broadcast live on the Internet.
Fox directed the 2010 documentary Gasland, which focuses on the dangers of shale gas, specifically the process of drilling for the gas, called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. One scene from Gasland shows Fox lighting water from a faucet on fire, blaming his ability to do so on natural gas exploration in the area.
The hearing that Fox was arrested at was about an EPA report that found an aquifer in Wyoming that was polluted with fracking fluid, the subject of Gasland.
Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.), objected to the director's expulsion from the hearing, and told Reuters that an ABC News crew was blocked from filming the hearing because they did not file a request in advance.
All those rules are to control access, Miller told Reuters, who made a motion that all God's children be allowed to film the hearing.
According to the Huffington Post, Fox was arrested by 16 officers while trying to film a follow-up to Gasland.
At approximately 10:30 a.m. today, United States Capitol Police arrested Joshua Fox of Milanville, Pa. in room 2318 of the Rayburn House office building, Sergeant Kimberly Schneider, Capitol Police Public Information Officer told The Huffington Post. He is charged with unlawful entry, and he is currently being processed at United States Capitol Police headquarters.
Andy Harris, the top Republican on the subcommittee who is a proponent of fracking, said that the demonizing of natural gas exploration is causing people to lose sight of the real problem, and halt progress on coming up with a real solution. In its single-minded pursuit of the hydraulic fracturing smoking gun, EPA appears to have lost focus on identifying the real causes and real solutions to drinking water quality problems in Pavillion, Wyoming, he told Reuters.
One Democratic house member called the arrest a constitutional violation.
It's an outrageous violation of the First Amendment, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) told The Huffington Post. Here we've got an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker, and it's an important subject and the subject that he did his prior film on for HBO. And they put him in handcuffs and hauled him out of there. This is stunning.