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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pattern Repeats Itself as Josh Fox Goes on Publicity Trail for Gasland Part 2

Josh Fox is busy promoting his latest propaganda film, Gasland Part 2, and recently showed up on Comedy Central's The Daily Show and MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes.  Each visit follows a similar pattern, with Fox making a series of accusations against the oil and gas industry which are afterward disputed by Energy in Depth (which calls the publicity tour Fox's misinformation tour) or others.

Reference is generally made to Fox's "wow factor" clips, such as the shot in Gasland Part 2 of Steven Lipsky lighting methane on fire at the end of a hose - much like he did when making a video that a judge ruled was a deceptive attempt to cause public alarm because Lipsky had intentionally hooked the hose to a gas vent in order to make it flame while claiming it was simply coming from a water line - or to the flaming faucet shot from the original Gasland, which came from a well that investigators determined had naturally occurring methane in it, not contamination from drilling.

Meanwhile, Fox relies heavily on the 2011 study by Cornell professors (and anti-fossil fuel activists) Tony Ingraffea and Robert Howarth in attempting to persuade the public that fugitive methane from drilling operations make it an even more deadly threat to the climate than coal - a claim that has been strongly disputed by many other studies, even ones commissioned by anti-drilling organizations such as the Sierra Club and other Cornell professors.

Below you can view Fox's appearances as well as the responses from others who accuse him of lying.


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And a response from Energy in Depth (the whole article can be read here):
Another day, another fact-free television appearance by Josh Fox. This weekend, the widely-panned filmmaker took his “talents” to MSNBC on All In with Chris Hayes – but once again, the experts disagree with most of what Josh has to say. As usual, we watched it so you don’t have to. Here’s what you missed…along with what the participants on that show did, too, apparently.
Chris Hayes, MSNBC: “When I first watched that iconic shot from the documentary GasLand, I, like most Americans I’m guessing, knew absolutely nothing, zero, about the gas extraction process called hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking.”
The “iconic shot” from the original Gasland film was the infamous “flaming faucet” scene. It’s an interesting piece to describe as the movie’s “iconic scene,” because while Gasland asserts that this is a result of natural gas development in the area, testing by the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) showed the methane was actually naturally occurring. As COGCC explained shortly after the movie’s release:
“…we concluded that Mike Markham’s and Renee McClure’s wells contained biogenic gas that was not related to oil and gas activity. Unfortunately, Gasland does not mention our McClure finding and dismisses our Markham finding out of hand.”
Comedy Central:

Response from Natural Gas Now (the whole article is available here):
Josh Fox begins his soapbox speech, “What we’re seeing all across America are people being able to light their water on fire in the face of this, the hugest domestic gas drilling campaign in history. Why hasn’t the government done anything about it? Why have our regulatory agencies failed to protect Americans?” This would have been an opportune time for John Oliver to point out that no evidence has been found to suggest that the American people need protecting.
Next, Fox stated, “The natural gas industry has come in and literally taken away the regulatory agencies from the people, has obstructed the science, has advised even the President of the United States to go on the side of more and more fracking.” I found this statement to contain more than a hint of irony, considering that Josh Fox and his followers successfully convinced the Delaware River Basin Commission to protect the interest of a few over that of the overwhelming majority, and continually make up their own facts and figures or cite, as scientists, those with no training or expertise.  It seems this statement would have been more accurate if “the natural gas industry” had been replaced with “Josh Fox and his followers.”
And the producers of the pro-drilling film FrackNation also weighed in on Fox's Daily Show appearance:

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