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‘Gasland Part II’ director uses hoax as evidence against fracking

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Filmmaker and anti-fracking activist Josh Fox’s new film “Gasland Part II” uses a Texas environmentalist’s hoax to show hydraulic fracturing allegedly contaminating water.

The Washington Free Beacon reports that the controversial anti-fracking sequel features a scene where a Texas landowner is able to light the contents of his garden hose on fire. This is then used as evidence that nearby oil and gas operations  caused the contamination.

However, a Texas court ruled that the scene was a hoax concocted by an environmental activist  engaged in a prolonged battle with a local gas company. The environmentalist sought to inflate the dangers of fracking.

Texas’ 43rd Judicial District Court found last year that the Texas landowner,  “under the advice or direction” of environmental activist Alisa Rich, “intentionally attach[ed] a garden hose to a gas vent — not a water line” and lit it on fire.

“This demonstration was not done for scientific study but to provide local and national news media a deceptive video, calculated to alarm the public into believing the water was burning,” the court ruled.

The ruling was in response to a defamation complaint brought by gas company Range Resources, which has fracking operations in the area.

According to the Free Beacon, Rich worked with the Environmental Protection Agency to issue an endangerment order against Range Resources. The order was withdrawn once the agency could not prove that local water pollution came from oil and gas operations.

“Gasland Part II” is the sequel to Fox’s Oscar-nominated 2010 anti-fracking film “Gasland,” premiering Monday night.

The first “Gasland” showed scenes of people near fracking operations being able to light their tap water on fire, but was criticized as misleading.

Filmmaker Phelim McAleer, director of the documentary “FrackNation”, confronted Fox on his claims of groundwater contamination in towns where flammable faucets had been a problem for decades before fracking operations began. Fox said he did not think such information was relevant.

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