Friday, June 17, 2011

UPDATED! Attacks on Josh Fox by Mike Knapp of Knapp Acquisitions-Vile Hypocrite Extraordinaire

It was reported recently in the news that a trailer on the land of the family of Josh Fox, (the director of the Oscar nominated film Gasland) was burned. You can read more about the incident here:

http://www.watershedpost.com/2011/gasland-directors-father-cited-environmental-violations-del-river-trib

and here:

http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110327/NEWS/103270329


The Pennsylvania DEP gave the Fox family a citation for "un-permitted disposal/burning of solid waste". The fire, however is being investigated by police, and Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshall Russ Andress stated that the trailer was burned while Fox was on the road and "There's nothing to suggest either he or his family had anything to do with it". The fire is still under investigation but that has not stopped the people that are looking to profit from gas drilling in Pennsylvania to wage a media slur campaign to discredit Josh Fox.

In addition to the usual snarky campaigns waged on supposed misdeeds of the anti-drilling crowd offered up by Energy In Depth---the gas industry's biggest buffoonery of misinformation; a newcomer on the scene by the name of Mike Knapp, the sole proprietor of Knapp Acquisitions, (working out out of Armstrong, Butler, Clarion, Indiana and Jefferson Counties in Western Pa) has taken up the mission to add to this flurry of pro-fracking flotsam by discrediting the Fox family on Twitter and on his company website by offering up the following "letter" that spells out the grave hypocrisy that Fox has supposedly perpetrated on us all. Knapp writes the following: (you can download the original here: http://bit.ly/ffja3V )

March 24th, 2011


Dear Interested Party:


We have recently obtained documents which show that Josh Fox, director of anti-natural gas drilling documentary
Gasland which won at the Sundance Film Festival last year and was nominated for an Oscar this year, has been illegally using his property (which he featured heavily in Gasland as a pristine nature sanctuary) as a dumping ground.

Damascus Township, Wayne County, Pennsylvania has issued multiple environmental citations and orders dating back as long ago as 2006, directing Fox to remove large amounts of junk, auto parts, scrap metal, used manufactured goods, and a dilapidated trailer from the property, warning specifically that burning the trailer would be in violation of clean air and clean water laws. Damascus Township officials inspected the property in August for compliance. Instead, they found the trailer burned and no trash removed.


Link to Township enforcement notice, with pictures: http://bit.ly/eBPLT8


Upon finding this, they notified the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) of the environmental violations. On March 4th, 2011 the DEP sent registered correspondence to Michael Fox, father of Josh and legal owner of the property. Fox failed to contact the DEP to remedy the situation.


Link to DEP notice: http://bit.ly/euEnmZ


Fox had taken no action until a story was released in the local paper documenting the above, at which point in time Fox called the state police to report arson. Fox claimed he was unaware of the trailer being burned. This is hard to believe as the property is rather small (20 acres) and the trailer in question was in close proximity to the main house. Regardless, the years of neglect and gross negligence on his part speaks volumes as to his true motivations behind “Gasland”.


Link to original news story: http://www.wayneindependent.com/newsnow/x1777816213/DEP-puts-Fox-on-notice


Mr. Fox’s documentary has been widely dismissed by the industry, the scientific community, and state regulators as factually inaccurate, blatantly self-promotional, and disingenuous. Mr. Fox’s blatant disregard for the environment on his own property further solidifies the argument that his documentary is more about money and exposure for its director than seeking to truthfully inform its viewers.


We hope that you will help us to bring light to the truth behind Josh Fox and Gasland, as they are causing unfounded hysteria which is hindering the United States from its goal of energy independence and environmental reform which can be achieved by safely tapping into our domestic natural gas reserves.


Sincerely,


Mike Knapp

President

Knapp Acquisitions & Production LLC

Kittanning, PA





Even if the Fox family was found to have perpetrated any and all of the "offenses" contained within this letter, it hardly translates to speaking "volumes as to his true motivations behind “Gasland”. Mike Knapp implies that Gasland is all about Mr Fox "making money" and getting "exposure". If Mr. Fox was only looking to make some money, I suspect he would have signed himself a big lease by now, or tried to start an acquisition company like his accuser and really rake in the bucks while having the same "disregard for the environment" as Mike Knapp does. How so? I offer the following:

On Mike Knapp's company website, he offers landowners a host of promises:

"We respect your land and your resources, and we value the environment as much as you do. We drink the same water and breathe the same air as you. We remember VIVIDLY how the coal industry treated the region, and we will fight to ensure that never happens again."

and:

"There is no shortage of bad information surrounding natural gas well drilling and its impact on the environment. The fact is that drilling can be completed safely and with minimal environmental impact if done correctly. We support legislation and regulations that will hold drillers to the standards that will ensure our lakes and rivers will not be impacted negatively by natural gas drilling operations. The industry continues to address such misinformation and has made significant strides in solving the few valid environmental concerns that gas well drilling raises. Please see below for a plethora of good info, right from the horses’s [sic] mouth."


Mike Knapp says he is all about facts, regulations, protections. "Get the facts, all the facts are here", etc...well here are some FACTS about the drilling companies Mike Knapp works with some FACTS that the Pennsylvania DEP has collected on those drilling companies and their "commitment to the environment". Think your lease with Knapp is a safe bet? Think your farm and land will be protected? Think again.

Violations listed for the drilling companies he represents-- MDS Energy and First Class Energy :

For 2010 -MDS ENERGY had 6 violations and 3 Fines

4/6/2010- MDS ENERGY LTD in Armstrong County- VIOLATION #584594
Code 78.56FRBRD Failure to maintain 2' freeboard in an impoundment

4/07/2010 Consent Assessment of Civil Penalty Fine: $ 26,000.00

5/14/2010- MDS ENERGY in Armstrong County VIOLATION ID #587171
VIOLATION Code 102.4 Failure to minimize accelerated erosion, implement E&S plan, maintain E&S controls. Failure to stabilize site until total site restoration under OGA Sec 206(c)(d)

Violations noted:
1- Failure to minimize accelerated erosion and sedimentation.
2- Inadequate E&S plan.
3- Discharge of Industrial Waste to the Waters of the Commonwealth.
Culverts not properly stabilized which resulted in sediment entering culverts and eventually entering nearby stream.

Consent Assessment of Civil Penalty FINED $5,000.00 Aug.31, 2010.

5/14/2010 -MDS ENERGY LTD Armstrong County VIOLATION ID #587172
VIOLATION CODE 102.4 INADPLN Failure to minimize accelerated erosion, implement E&S plan, maintain E&S controls. Failure to stabilize site until total site restoration under OGA Sec


5/14/2010 -MDS ENERGY LTD Armstrong County VIOLATION ID #587173
VIOLATION CODE- 401CSL Discharge of Pollution Material into waters of the Commonwealth.

Violations noted:
1- Failure to minimize accelerated erosion and sedimentation.
2- Inadequate E&S plan.
3- Discharge of Industrial Waste to the Waters of the Commonwealth.

5/14/2010 -MDS ENERGY LTD Armstrong County VIOLATION ID #587174
401CSL Stream discharge of IW, includes drill cuttings, oil, brine and/or silt.

Violations noted:
1- Failure to minimize accelerated erosion and sedimentation.
2- Inadequate E&S plan.
3- Discharge of Industrial Waste to the Waters of the Commonwealth.


5/14/2010 MDS ENERGY LTD Armstrong County VIOLATION ID #587175
VIOLATION CODE 691.401WPD Failure to prevent sediment or other pollutant discharge into waters of the Commonwealth.

Violations noted:
1- Failure to minimize accelerated erosion and sedimentation.
2- Inadequate E&S plan.
3- Discharge of Industrial Waste to the Waters of the Commonwealth.
Steady flow of sediment laden water exiting the culvert and entering directly into the stream.


05/24/2010 MDS ENERGY LTD Armstrong County VIOLATION ID #587943 VIOLATION CODE - 78.56FRBRD Failure to maintain 2' freeboard in an impoundment; freeboard limit exceeded in pit. Water level closer than 2' from top of pit.

5/24/2010 Consent Assessment of Civil Penalty Fine: $ 26,000.00

8/20/2010 MDS ENERGY LTD Armstrong County VIOLATION ID #598511
VIOLATION CODE 78.60B Tophole water discharged improperly.
Discharge to stream Channel. Violation of 78.60(b)(5)



For 2009 MDS ENERGY VIOLATIONS:

6/3/09- MDS ENERGY LTD Armstrong County VIOLATION ID #564197
VIOLATION CODE-102.4 Failure to minimize accelerated erosion, implement E&S plan, maintain E&S controls. Failure to stabilize site until total site restoration under OGA Sec 206(c)(d)

6/3/09- MDS ENERGY LTD Armstrong County VIOLATION ID #564198
VIOLATION CODE 102.4INADPLN E&S Plan not adequate


6/3/09- MDS ENERGY LTD Armstrong County VIOLATION ID #564199
VIOLATION CODE 78.83GRNDWTR Improper casing to protect fresh groundwater
E&S and casing violations

12/30/09- MDS ENERGY LTD Armstrong County VIOLATION ID #579096
VIOLATION CODE 205A Drilling w/in 200 ft of building or water well w/o variance

12/30/09- MDS ENERGY LTD Armstrong County VIOLATION ID #579097
VIOLATION CODE 207B Failure to case and cement to prevent migrations into fresh groundwater

12/30/09- MDS ENERGY LTD Armstrong County VIOLATION ID #579098
VIOLATION CODE 210UNPLUG Failure to plug a well upon abandonment
No bldg. waiver, abandoned & Incorrect casg. & cement

VIOLATIONS for MDS ENERGY in 2008:

1/22/08- MDS ENERGY LTD Armstrong County VIOLATION ID #531304
VIOLATION CODE: 201F Failure to notify DEP, landowner, political subdivision, or coal owner 24 hrs prior to commencement of drilling


2/01/08- MDS ENERGY LTD Armstrong County VIOLATION ID #534649
VIOLATION CODE: 201F Failure to notify DEP, landowner, political subdivision, or coal owner 24 hrs prior to commencement of drilling

4/29/08- MDS ENERGY LTD Armstrong County VIOLATION ID #537870
VIOLATION CODE: 78.56FRBRD Failure to maintain 2' freeboard in an impoundment

9/11/08- MDS ENERGY LTD Clarion County VIOLATION ID #548244
VIOLATION CODE: 205B Drilling w/in 100 ft of surface water or wetland w/o variance

9/11/08- MDS ENERGY LTD Clarion County VIOLATION ID #548245
VIOLATION CODE: 102.4 Failure to minimize accelerated erosion, implement E&S plan, maintain E&S controls. Failure to stabilize site until total site restoration under OGA Sec 206(c)(d)

9/11/08- MDS ENERGY LTD Clarion County VIOLATION ID #548246
VIOLATION CODE: 102.4INADPLN E&S Plan not adequate

9/11/08- MDS ENERGY LTD Clarion County VIOLATION ID #548247
VIOLATION CODE: 78.56FRBRD Failure to maintain 2' freeboard in an impoundment


Source: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

You can also read the following about Knapp's deal making with respect to landowners and leases:

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/business/s_697353.html


Not a flattering portrait to be certain. Knapp is essentially a middleman looking to profit off everyone else's deals. He brings nothing to the table but inflammatory rhetoric and he and the drilling companies he works with are only out for one thing. Quick Money.

By their fruits you shall know them.

What is truly offensive about Mike Knapp is that he is so full of himself and his mission to make a quick buck that he rushes off to judgment about an issue that has less than nothing to do with the much larger and more important issue of the safety of gas drilling. Knapp then compounds that offensiveness by waging a public ad hominem attack on Fox and his family without just cause, and further, turns out to NOT look at the very LARGE and UGLY plank in his own eye by ignoring the very FACTS he claims to be so adamant about.

The FACTS are that the gas drilling companies that work with Knapp Acquisitions are NOT SAFE and NOT RESPONSIBLE for the environment and are ANYTHING BUT respectful of "your land and your resources". They DON'T in fact, "value the environment as much as you do" .

Knapp is nothing but a shill for the gas industry and for himself. A blatant liar and twister of information-- as evidenced by these continual environmental violations by his affiliates that make Mr. Fox's burned out trailer look like a gum wrapper thrown on the floor by comparison.

When they give out the award for the biggest hypocrite in the USA, Mike Knapp should definitely win. His latest attempt at a PR plundering of Mr. Fox has earned him the biggest booby prize for stupidity known to mankind. Energy in Depth and the other Marcellus Shale Shills will certainly be proud of him.

UPDATE
June 17th 2011

In the continuing saga of slanderer Mike Knapp, once again reading comprehension has been pushed to the back and foolishness has been given a front seat. Mr. Knapp somehow determines that Josh Fox being the recipient of a "speaking fee" is somehow disingenuous; Knapp posted on Twitter the following rant:

"#MarcellusTruth @gaslandmovie director Jo$h Fox charging $7,500 for speaking appearances, plus airfare. http://t.co/zifTgFi Must be nice!"

Mr. Knapp's first error was in his lack of ability to read the referenced document that he provided the link to, located HERE. In it, anyone with a modicum of intelligence can read the FACT that Mr. Fox usually charges $7500 but would be accepting the amount of $5000 plus $300 for airfare for this particular speaking engagement at a college. So once again, Mr. Knapp has created a slanderous posting and passed it off as what he terms "marcellus truth"...whatever that means. Anyone that can READ knows that Mr. Knapp's post does NOT read as truth but rather is slander and lies to discredit Mr. Fox.

Mr. Knapp makes the further error of somehow deeming a $7500 speaking fee as being excessive. A quick search on the internet turns up a document here that demonstrates that speaking fees can vary from $1000 to over $100,000 depending on the speaker, the venue, and the subject. The fact that Mr. Fox is at the LOW end of this spectrum is even more evidence that Mr. Knapp is nothing short of a slanderer, and a pretty boneheaded one at that, because he compounds his rhetoric without checking simple facts beforehand--a true sign of someone desperate to discredit at any cost.

The facts are that Mr. Fox should charge a reasonable fee, as he IS, in FACT an Oscar nominated director, which is not much different than being an author or an actor that was called upon to speak at a college. The reality actress Snooki was paid $32,000 to speak at a college and I am certain that whatever she said had nothing to do with the future of our environment, making what Mr. Fox has to say a bargain at any price.

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