Thursday, February 2, 2012

Newscasters ejected, film maker arrested at hearings on EPA fracking report

On Wednesday, February 1, 2012, the House Science Subcommittee held hearings on an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report that finds a Wyoming drinking water aquifer likely was polluted by chemicals used in hydraulic fracking.

On one side of the issue stands the subcommittee Republican members who strongly support fracking, the the controversial method for extracting natural gas from underground shale deposits.

In the words of House Science Subcommittee Chairman Andrew Harris: "In its single-minded pursuit of the hydraulic fracking smoking gun, EPA seems to have lost focus on identifying the real causes and real solutions to drinking water problems in Pavillion, Wyoming."

On the other side of the issue stands the Environmental Protection Agency and the House Science Subcommittee Democrats who are in favor of greater oversight of the hydraulic fracking as practiced by the industry, including disclosure of the chemicals used and rigorous testing of the water before and after fracking.

"EPA has acted carefully, thoughtfully, deliberately, and transparently in our ground water investigation (of Pavillion, Wyoming) and in sharing the data and findings contained in our draft report," stated James Martin, EPA Region 8 Administrator.

So the hearing was conducted in a politically, scientifically, and economically charged atmosphere -- the times that test the very fabric of our democracy. And, on Wednesday, in that House subcommittee hearing room, the fabric of our democracy was torn, burned, and trampled like any enemy of America has ever done to our flag.

Backed by his Republican majority, Chairman Harris ordered that the ABC News crew be ejected and Josh Fox, the film maker, be arrested for covering the story of these hearings.

Reuters reported the events, in detail and in pictures, as did Bloomberg News, USA Today, and other reporters present at the Science Subcommittee hearings.

But how many times have just everyday regular citizens been banned, ejected, or arrested by elected officials who violate our Constitutional right to oversight ... Americans who don't have a film crew, TV news network, or Oscar nomination to get the publicity? Too often. And, only We the People can stop it.