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Gasland Director Josh Fox: Obama's Support for Natural Gas Drilling 'A Painful Moment' for Communities Exposed to Fracking

Fox talks with Democracy Now following his arrest Wednesday while trying to film a Congressional hearing.

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JUAN GONZALEZ: Josh, I’d like to ask John Fenton specifically about this whole issue of how he makes do now with the situation of the contaminated water. Are you having water trucked in for the community? And what about bathing, cooking, the other aspects of life that you depend on water for?

JOHN FENTON: Drinking and cooking water comes in five-gallon office cooler-type water jugs now. So that’s what we do all of our drinking and cooking issues with. We’re still bathing in the contaminated water. We have not been able to prepare an alternative source yet. We’ve seen all sorts of impacts from that. We have people with really unexplainable health conditions, a lot of neurological problems, a neuropathy, seizures, people losing their sense of smell, sense of taste, you know, people with their arms and legs going numb. It’s very significant.

People here who [inaudible] their whole lives, this is their retirement. This is something they wanted to hand down to their family. Small agriculture, family farming, is under attack everywhere. And here we have just one more example of that deterioration of the family unit. It’s even to the point where the water that comes out of our wells is no longer usable for growing a garden. It stunts all the plants. So, it’s had a huge impact. And we’re working towards trying to get whole house replacements so we’re bathing in clean water, but that’s something that we haven’t been able to do yet.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we will certainly continue to follow this issue. We got this statement from one of the members of the House committee, Maurice Hinchey, who is retiring at the end of his term, from upstate New York. He said, "It is beyond unacceptable that acclaimed documentary director Josh Fox was arrested for trying to film a public hearing on groundwater contamination caused by hydraulic fracturing in Pavillion, Wyoming." Congressman Hinchey goes on to say, "This was a public hearing, there was plenty of room for cameras, and a credentialed camera crew was told they would be denied access because they were working for a documentary filmmaker. This is blatant censorship and a shameful stain on [this] Congress. I stand by Josh’s right to record this hearing. His arrest was a huge mistake." Again, the statement of retiring Congress Member Maurice Hinchey, who was in the room, on the committee. Josh Fox, will you attempt to film another EPAhearing on Capitol Hill, as we wrap up?

JOSH FOX: We film hundreds of—hundreds of public hearings across America, of course. And I would say, I’d like to try to see them arrest me in Congress to tape a public hearing again. I think, when you have a First Amendment threat, the thing that you have to do is exercise the First Amendment. So, I very much doubt that they will be arresting me at a public hearing in Congress again. I doubt it.

AMY GOODMAN: And this last news that we just reported in the last few days, Environmental Protection Agency agreeing to begin delivering fresh water to four homes in northeastern Pennsylvania, where water wells have been contaminated by fracking?

JOSH FOX: Yes. Well, that’s in Dimock, Pennsylvania. And there’s another case where residents stuck to their guns, and in spite of an enormous amount of intimidation, both by industry and by DEP, in a similar situation where John—what John Fenton described, where you had DEP from Pennsylvania, the state agency, walking in, arm in arm, with Cabot Oil & Gas, a lot of this revolving door between state regulators and industry, finally got the attention of the EPA, the federal agency. And they came in, did their own survey of the water wells, looked at the testing results, and decided these people need water delivery.

 
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