“Gasland Part II,” the sequel to the anti-fracking documentary by Josh Fox that aired publicly on HBO Monday, includes footage of what is thought to be water flowing from a garden hose that was lit on fire, according to a report by the Washington Free Beacon.
This imagery is also shown in a trailer for the HBO documentary to. But its legitimacy is called into question when the Free Beacon pointed out that a district court ruled in favor of the Texas fracking company Range Resources, stating that resident Steven Lipsky, his wife and environmental activist Alisa Rich might have engaged in “a conspiracy to defame Range.”
Here’s more from the 2012 order from Texas’ 43rd Judicial District Court denying the Lipsky’s anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss Range’s counter claims (emphasis added):
The court references with concern the actions of Mr. Steven Lipsky, under the advice or direction of Ms. Alicia Rich, to intentionally attach a garden hose to a gas vent — not a water line — and then light and burn gas from the end nozzle of the hose. 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. There is further evidence that Rich knew the regional EPA administration and provided or assisted in providing additional misleading information (including the garden hose video)to alarm the EPA. Moreover, the emails in question which refer to this deceptive garden hose demonstration as a “strategy” to support that a “meeting of the minds” took place and that a reasonable trier of fact could believe, together with other evidence, that the elements of a conspiracy to defame Range exist.
Watch the trailer for the “Gasland” sequel that shows flames coming from a garden hose:
In February of this year, Lipsky told WFAA-TV the garden hose demonstration was used not to fool people but as a venting mechanism. He showed them the same type of footage this time out of a PVC pipe:
What the drilling company, Range Resources, contended — and the judge agreed — was that Lipsky deliberately tried to make the public believe that his water was flammable.
But Lipsky says the garden hose in the video was only a temporary venting mechanism.
“This was where the hose was hooked up,” Lipsky told WFAA as he demonstrated. “It’s hooked up to the head space of the well, and that’s where the hose was always hooked up, and we never said it was anything but that.”
The well water — coming from a long white PVC pipe attached to the well head — is so laced with methane it can be seen actually catching on fire.
“So you can’t say it’s the PVC burning… you see, it’s going up the water,” Lipsky said. “It’s actually going up. See? There it goes.”
Watch WFAA’s footage:
WFAA continued pointing out that the EPA had tested Lipsky’s water showing it had methane and other chemicals, but it later backed off the case, leaving him to sort out the lawsuit. Earlier this year, dozens of environmental groups penned a letter to the EPA’s Inspector General to investigate the agency for pulling out of the case.
Filmmaker Josh Fox has been called out for including footage of flammable water in his first documentary on the topic “Gasland,” which debuted in 2010. To counter, the filmmaker of the pro-fracking documentary “FrackNation” has previously confronted Fox, asking him about reports of methane in the water prior to fracking and citing the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission finding the methane from Fox’s examples was not derived from fracking activity.
McAleer asked why Fox didn’t include other reports of a “troublesome amount” of methane in water decades earlier in other areas and was told by Fox because “that’s no bearing on this situation at all,” calling the reports not relevant.
Watch McAleer’s questing of Fox a couple years ago: