A contentious House committee hearing over an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report on possible natural gas contamination of well water started off with the ejection from the hearing room of Josh Fox, director of the controversial film Gasland.

Fox, who lacked press credentials for the session of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, was arrested by Capitol Hill police for unlawful entry after he refused to dismantle his film equipment and leave. A film crew for ABC News, also was ejected from the hearing for lack of credentials. The subcommittee hearing was called to investigate the EPA’s study of alleged well water contamination by Encana Corp. hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in Pavillion, WY (see Daily GPI, Dec. 21, 2011).

Subcommittee Chairman Andy Harris (R-MD), backed by Republicans on the committee, refused to waive the rules on credentials, noting that the hearing already was being webcast, and committee Democrats failed to win votes to overturn the chairman’s ruling.

The anti-fracking film Gasland has been blamed by the energy industry for much of the misinformation floating around about the practice of fracking (see Daily GPI, Dec. 1, 2011).

The hearing was called to examine EPA’s practices in preparing a draft report on the alleged Pavillion contamination, which was released last December and is out for public comment until March 12 (see Daily GPI, Dec. 9, 2011). Encana and industry interests have blasted the report for inaccuracies and faulty science, while others — such as some lawmakers in Maryland who seek to stall Marcellus Shale development — have cited it as a red flag on fracking.

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