Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Gasland's Burning Desire to Protect Pennsylvania Waterways?

Josh Fox, striking a pose in Calkins Creek

"Now, I'm not sure how many of you have direct experience with streams. When I was growing up, you could run up and down the stream for miles, for hours on end. I mean, the moment the stream takes a bend, you can walk 10 paces and look back and it looks like a different place. [Calkins Creek] is a place I know, a place that runs trough my mind. And it's always there. And it feels to me like it's the source of all life. And it is. (Gasland, 9:29)

Living in upstate New York, atop the natural gas rich Marcellus shale, you cannot have a conversation about the pro's and con's of natural gas drilling without someone bringing up the documentary "Gasland". Profess your pro-drilling opinions and you get one of two responses. "You ignorant slut" or "Have you seen "Gasland"?

I did suffer through "Gasland" and I am neither ignorant or a slut, but this is the level of debate these days. So it is with a keen sense of irony I note that the precious creek that Josh Fox grew up on is actually being spoiled by his own father. Who knew burning a trailer on your property would cause such a fuss?

The father of Oscar-nominated film maker Josh Fox has been cited for environmental violations on his property in Wayne County.

gasland2.pngView full sizeIn this scene from the film 'Gasland,' a man living near a natural gas drilling site demonstrates how his kitchen sink water is so contaminated it catches on fire.

Fox, whose film “Gasland” suggests the natural gas drilling industryis a major threat to the environment, used the property in rural Damascus Township as a touchstone of unsullied natural beauty in his movie.

Citations from local and state officials suggest something a bit different.

After the township filed a complaint against property owner Michael Fox, the Department of Environmental Protection's Northeast Regional Waste Management Program issued a notice of violation for the burning of a house trailer on the property.

According to the local zoning officer, the burning took place close to 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.”

The notice of violation occurred in January, prior to the recent controversy over a state geologist's criticism of "Gasland."

The father of Academy Award-nominated documentary director Josh Fox received a notice of violation from the Department of Environmental Protection for burning a mobile trailer on his property in Damascus Township.

No fine have been issued, but the notice recommends that property owner Michael Fox cease all burning activities on the property. Damascus Township zoning officer Ed Lagarenne said teh location of the burning was in close proximity to Calkins Creek, which flows into the Delaware River.

The notice also recommends removing the remaining burned solid waste on the property and dispose of the material at an approved disposal facility within 30 days or contact DEP's northeast regional office to establish an alternative compliance schedule.
Be sure to check out Josh's next documentary "Burn Trailer, Spoil Creek"!

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