This morning, the charge of "unlawful entry" brought against me was dismissed without condition.Â Â The US Attorney dropped the case, finding it baseless and without merit. Although this is a personal victory and I am very grateful and relieved at the US Attorney's decision, it serves as a painful reminder that we do not have rights unless we exercise them .
On February 1st, I was arrested, briefly jailed, and charged with "unlawful entry" for attempting to film a public hearing in the Science, Space and Technology committee.Â I did not enter unlawfully, I lined up outside just as everyone else did and walked in when the room opened.
I set up my tripod and camera where cameras normally are set up in that particular hearing room and I was calm and peaceful.Â I did not disrupt the hearing nor did I intend to do so.Â Â I believed I was within my first amendment rights, as a journalist and filmmaker.Â I was reporting on a case that is intensely personal to me, that I have been following for 3 years. Â
The House had convened a hearing in the House Energy and Environment subcommittee to challenge EPAs findings that hydraulic fracturing fluids had contaminated groundwater in the town of Pavillion, Wyoming. I have a long history with the town of Pavillion and its residents who have maintained since 2008 that fracking has contaminated their water supply.