Crossposted from Alternet.org
In a stunning break with First Amendment policy, House Republicans directed Capitol Hill police to detain a highly regarded documentary crew that was attempting to film a Wednesday hearing on a controversial natural gas procurement practice. Initial reports from sources suggested that an ABC News camera was also prevented from taping the hearing; ABC has since denied that they sent a crew to the hearing.
Josh Fox, director of the Academy Award-nominated documentary “Gasland” was taken into custody by Capitol Hill police this morning, along with his crew, after Republicans objected to their presence, according to Democratic sources present at the hearing. The meeting of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment had been taking place in room 2318 of the Rayburn building.
HuffPost has obtained exclusive video of the arrest of Josh Fox. Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.), the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee, can be heard at the end of the clip asking Republican Chairman Andy Harris (R-Md.) to halt the arrest and permit Fox to film the public hearing. Harris denies Miller’s request as Fox is escorted out of the hearing in handcuffs.
Here’s Congressman Jerry Nadler:
“I have served in the House of Representatives since 1992, and I had the privilege of chairing the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties. In all that time, I cannot recall a chair of any committee or subcommittee having ever ordered the removal of a person who was filming a committee proceeding and not being disruptive, whether or not that person was accredited. It is a matter of routine that all sorts of people photograph and record our proceedings. Most of them are not accredited. I cannot recall anyone questioning their right to be there.”
The HuffPost continued its coverage of the hearing: The hearing resumed after the film crew departed.
Jim Martin, the EPA administrator for the region that includes Wyoming, said the agency’s analysis of geologic conditions in the Pavillion gas field shows “groundwater in the aquifer contains compounds likely associated with gas production practices, including hydraulic fracturing.”
Subcommittee Chairman Andy Harris (R-Md.) refuted the study, saying, “In a remarkable display of arrogance and disregard for the plain facts, the president last week proclaimed his support for expanded shale gas production, while at the same time allowing every part of his administration … to attack these practices through scientific innuendo and regulatory straight-jacketing.”