Tuesday, February 9, 2016

DEP cites "Gasland" flimmaker's father

Sparks fly in a new round of the "Gasland" wars.

DEP cites "Gasland" flimmaker's father


Sparks fly in a new round of the "Gasland" wars.

State regulators have cited the father of the filmmaker who produced the Oscar-nominated film "Gasland" for environmental violations at his northeast Pennsylvania property.

Department of Environmental Protection officials told the Patriot-News of Harrisburg that Michael Fox, father of Oscar-nominated film maker Josh Fox, was cited earlier this year for burning a dilapidated trailer on his property in Wayne County.

The area around the Fox property  - a focus of Marcellus Shale drilling activity - was used in the film to portray the bucolic places threatened by gas drilling.

A local zoning officer told the Patriot-News that the burning took place near Calkins Creek, which flows into the Delaware River.

A spokesman for DEP said no fines have been issued and that the notice recommended that Fox “cease all burning activities on the property; remove the remaining burned solid waste on the property and dispose of that material at an approved disposal facility within 30 days.”

It's the latest flap over "Gasland," the documentary film which examines environmental and health hazards connected to gas drilling. The movie touched briefly on gas drilling in Pennsylvania, angering former DEP chief John Hanger for its charge that the state did not do enough to prevent environment damage from deep well drilling,

The most recent dust up was over comments made by Department of Conservation and Natural Resources geologist Teddy Borawski who last week compared Josh Fox to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. Gov. Corbett said discplinary action was being taken against Borawski who issued an apology.

Yesterday Josh Fox issued a statement calling for Borawski to be fired and saying he and his family have suffered personal attacks and their property vandalized since the film was released.

Calling people Nazis has no place in our civic dialogue whatsoever. What we need is a real scientific review of the harmful effects of gas drilling on the state and a statewide moratorium on new drilling, leasing, permitting and fracking until all of the problems can be addressed, not race baiting remarks.

In the same statement, Michael Fox, a Holocaust survivor who lost many family members in the Nazi concentration camps, responded:

"To have my son called a Nazi after what happened to our family, and when what he did was to raise the alarm to the poisoning of our water and our people, is heart-rending."


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Commonwealth Confidential gives you regularly updated coverage of the state legislature, the governor and the workings of the state bureaucracy. It is written by Angela Couloumbis in the Inquirer's Harrisburg bureau, based in the statehouse, and by the newspaper's far-flung campaign reporters.

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