A picture may be worth a thousand words, but apparently it says a lot more when it’s a photo of frackers fracking. In Pennsylvania recently, the battle to control the images used to depict the national debate over shale gas drilling has officially heated up.
In February, 2013 PA House Bill 683 was proposed by nine Pennsylvania lawmakers – Reps. Gary Haluska [D-73rd], Carl Metzgar [R-69th], Stephen Barrar [R-160th], M. K. Keller [R-86th], Dick Hess [R-78th], Dan Moul [R-91st], Mike Fleck [R-81st], C. Adam Harris [R-82nd] and Tom Murt [R-152nd]. Steve Todd was among the first to report it in his February 26 post, PA State House Judiciary Committee: NO on HB683. This bill would prohibit people from photographing oil and gas operations because they are occurring on agricultural lands. By fracking farmland, gas drillers would gain new impunity under a piece of anti-whitsle blower legislation, commonly known as an “Ag-gag.”
Yes, you’re reading it correctly. PA HB683 would make it illegal to photograph images of gas drilling operations – the good, the bad, the mundane and the incendiary.
And in case you’re wondering, Pennsylvania has about 63,163 farms. That’s roughly 7.8 million agricultural acres out of the total 29.5 million acres in Pennsylvania, which ranks 20th in the U.S. for agricultural production.
“HB683 makes it illegal to photograph a farm, a cow, a horse, sheep, goats, pigs, haystacks, tractors, chickens, corn fields, pumpkin patches, vegetables, fruits, and natural gas wells. Fracktivists have been filming frack sites, FROM PUBLIC ROADS, their videos are invaluable in documenting fracking’s destruction of PA.” ~ MarcellusProtest.org
Credit: Marcellus Protest
The bill is currently in committee, but environmentalists are keeping an eye on it. HB 683 is exactly the sort of legislation the PA GOP tucks into other bills and passes late at night.
Unsurprisingly, HB 683 has its roots (tentacles?) in similar ALEC-sponsored legislation proposed in other states. Dory Hippauf relates its absurdity in Arresting Monet – AG-GAG Pennsylvania House Bill 683, Blog.ShaleShockMedia.org:
“HB683 is modeled after ‘proposed legislation’ written by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wish lists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC’s operations.”
PLEASE SIGN ON to the PETITION To Say NO to HB 683 HERE.
And if you have more time, please CONTACT YOUR PA STATE REP.
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