But some are questioning if the law passes, could it be applied to those who regularly photograph, videotape and document natural gas operations. Scott Cannon pointed out much of the industry occupies large tracts of farmland across the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania. Cannon, who produces documentaries critical of the industry, is convinced House Bill 683 could be misapplied to include natural gas companies.
"Most of the gas wells I see are on farmland," said Cannon. "So does that make gas drilling on farm land an agricultural process? I can see the gas industry using that to come after us."
The language of H.B. 683 does not clearly define where a person would be in violation if he or she obtained footage or pictures of so-called agricultural operations. Cannon takes that to mean someone could be prosecuted under the terms of the law if they were taking pictures of any farm from public property. Even ones with drilling rigs.
The bill's sponsor told Eyewitness News Friday evening there was no connection between the bill's language and the natural gas industry. Rep. Gary Haluska (D-Pa.) said the idea for the bill came from the Farm Bureau and was developed to address trespassing by those looking to exploit farmers. When asked if he could understand how the bill could be misinterpreted given the sprawling natural gas industry, he responded: "Maybe what we need to do is have some hearings."
Other lawmakers who are co-sponsoring the bill also defended the bill's original intent saying it had nothing to do with the gas industry.
Still environmental activists don't want to open a door.
"If you videotape from a public or private road, or transmit, which means you post it online, that could be a felony," said Cannon. "That's a big deal."