Fear not, Capitol security guards: Josh Fox and his anti-drilling friends will NOT attempt to occupy the building tomorrow.
To recap, the Academy Award-nominated filmmaker led a protest outside Governor Corbett’s office on June 7, during a lobbying day organized by environmental groups. Here’s what I wrote on State House Sound Bites that day.
Harrisburg briefly took on the feel of Madison this afternoon, when anti-drilling protesters staged a sit-in outside Governor Corbett’s office. Chants of “Corbett’s a Coward!” and “open the door!” rang out, as filmmaker Josh Fox and other environmental advocates unsuccessfully tried to schedule a meeting with the Republican.
Fox, whose Academy Award-nominated documentary Gasland has become a rallying point for drilling opponents, told reporters he’s been trying to meet with Corbett for months. “We have sent letters. We have sent emails. We have sent phone calls. We have sent letters on behalf of huge numbers of people. We have never received a response,” he explained.
…When the [earlier anti-drilling] rally ended, many of the attendees visited lawmakers’ offices, to personally lobby for stricter regulations. Fox and several dozen other activists headed to the Capitol’s executive wing. “We were stopped at the door. We were told to call. I called several times,” Fox explained. “We had a few entertaining conversations about why they wouldn’t just come to the door and speak to us. I was sent to the scheduling person, who hung up on me. We are demanding that we have an appointment with Governor Tom Corbett to discuss what’s happening in Pennsylvania as a result of the gas drilling.”
Fox and the other protesters eventually left, but vowed to return to Corbett’s office on July 20th – that’s tomorrow. They were going to “occupy the building” and stay all night. (You can see video of the June protest at Roxbury News.)
Plans have changed, Fox explained via email. He wrote, “We have rescheduled our return [because] the legislature is not in session tomorrow.” On top of that, Corbett is on vacation this week, so nobody except the Capitol press corps would have been around to hear the protesters’ demands.
It’s unclear whether the drilling opponents have set an exact date for their new sit-in – Fox wrote organizers are “discussing [it] now” — but the General Assembly doesn’t reconvene until September.