U.S. filmmaker arrested at House hearing on shale gas

Wed Feb 1, 2012 5:23pm EST
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By Ayesha Rascoe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The director of a U.S. documentary that portrays shale gas production as dangerous was arrested and escorted out of a Republican-dominated Congressional hearing on Wednesday, touching off a dispute over public access to the event.

Police handcuffed Josh Fox, director of the Oscar-nominated Gasland, and led him out of a House science committee room after he refused to stop filming.

Republicans in charge of the committee said Fox lacked credentials to tape the hearing, which was being broadcast live on the Internet.

The hearing focused on an Environmental Protection Agency draft report that found an aquifer in Wyoming was likely polluted by fluids from hydraulic fracturing, the drilling technique scrutinized in Fox's controversial documentary.

U.S. Representative Brad Miller, the top Democrat on a science subcommittee, objected to the decision to eject Fox. He said Republicans had also blocked an ABC News crew from filming the hearing because they had not requested to film in advance.

"All those rules are to control access," said Miller, who made a motion that "all God's children" be allowed to film the hearing.

Miller's move delayed the hearing for nearly 50 minutes until the required number of lawmakers were present to vote on the motion.

The documentary has garnered particular attention for a scene featuring flaming tapwater. Shale gas supporters have said the film is filled with inaccuracies and distorts the safety record of U.S. shale gas production.   Continued...

<p>Academy Award-nominated director Josh Fox speaks during a protest against hydraulic fracturing outside the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Borough of Manhattan Community College in New York November 30, 2011. REUTERS/Andrew Burton</p>