The PJ Tatler

Gasland's Josh Fox Has A Flaming Hose Fetish

Gasland Part II is here.  It’s premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival last April gained some attention when those who participated in the making of the documentary FrackNation, which is critical of Gasland – and its director Josh Fox – were barred from the screening.  It premiered on HBO on July 8.  Fox’s Gasland is loaded with inaccuracies, which I posted about last spring.  One of the main points the film makes is that fracking causes drinking water to become flammable.  Fox also claims that natural gas exploration contaminates the surrounding water.  Dimock, PA was ground zero for this development.  The EPA tested the water and it was deemed safe.

Additionally, flammable water is a natural occurrence that’s been documented since the 17th century.  Nevertheless, Fox rehashes this debunked talking point in Gasland Part II again.  As Lachlan Markay of the Washington Free Beacon wrote on July 8:

Fox’s new film, Gasland Part II, features a powerful scene showing a Texas landowner lighting the contents of a garden hose on fire. The incident is presented as evidence of water contamination from a nearby hydraulic fracturing operation.

According to a Texas court, the scene was actually a hoax devised by a Texas environmental activist engaged in a prolonged battle with a local gas company to falsely inflate the supposed dangers of the oil and gas extraction technique, also known as fracking.


Gasland Part II goes a step further: Rather than presenting naturally occurring phenomena as the result of hydraulic fracturing, it trumpets as evidence a scene deliberately concocted to frighten residents and attract media coverage.

Texas’ 43rd Judicial District Court found in February 2012 that Steven Lipsky,  “under the advice or direction” of Texas environmental activist Alisa Rich, “intentionally attach[ed] a garden hose to a gas vent—not a water line” and lit its contents 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 found in response to a defamation complaint brought by Range Resources, the company conducting hydraulic fracturing operations in the area, against Lipsky and his wife.

Rich is a long-time critic of Range Resources. She collaborated with the Environmental Protection Agency to issue an endangerment order against the company, which was subsequently withdrawn when the agency could not demonstrate that local water contamination was the result of oil and gas activities as opposed to natural factors.

Again, it seems Mr. Fox hasn’t ventured out to Bristol, NY, where the Burning Springs are located.  They’ve experienced flammable water since 1669.  And it’s been occurring many more times since then.

An excerpt from “The natural, statistical, and civil history of the state of New-York, Volume 1″ by James Macauley (1829) reads:

There are several burning springs in the county of Ontario. That in the town of Bristol, about eight miles southeasterly of the village of Canandaigua, is in a ravine at the base of a small eminence. The water is pure and emits so much inflammable gas, that it ignites on the application of a lighted candle. The flame is unsteady. Combustion is more easily communicated and is more active and of longer continuance in drouths, than when the spring is raised. The stone in the vicinity is shale. A small brook flows through the ravine 
An excerpt from “The northern traveller: and Northern tour; with the routes to the Springs…” by Theodore Dwight and Henry Dilworth Gilpin (1831) reads:
Springs of water charged with inflammable gas are quite common in Bristol Middlesex and Canandaigua.  The gas from the former rises through fissures of the slate from both the margin and the bed of a brook. They form little hillocks of a few feet in diameter and a few inches high of a dark bituminous mould. The gas will burn with a steady flame. In winter they form openings through the snow, and being set on fire, exhibit a steady and lively flame in contact with nothing but snow. In very cold weather it is said tubes of ice are formed round these currents of gas (probably from the freezing of the water contained in it,) to the height of two or three feet, and when lighted in a still evening presenting an appearance even more beautiful than the former. From a pit which was sunk in one of the hillocks the gas was once conducted through bored logs to the kitchen of a dwelling.  

So, even with the evidence staring Mr. Fox right in the face, it seems that he  – and those on the radical environmental left – are more inclined to indulge in their flaming hose fetish.