Dan Thomas: Reporter Prohibited From Digging For Evidence Of Oil Spill Beneath Sand On Gulf Beach (VIDEO)
A WEAR ABC 3 crew recently went to Gulf Islands National Seashore in Florida to check on the state of the beaches in the wake of the Gulf oil spill.
Reporter Dan Thomas brought a shovel to check for oil underneath the sand, but was promptly stopped by Pat Gonzalez of U.S. Fish and Wildlife who told him he needed a permit to dig. When Gonzalez asked if Thomas was digging for "oil product," Thomas said, "Not necessarily. I just want to see what's there." Gonzalez immediately replied, "Okay, I'll tell you what. If you're not going to cooperate with me I'm going to get a National Parks Service officer out here. I'll get a law enforcement guy out here to talk to you."
Told that he could dig further down the beach, Thomas and his crew moved on to do just that. But moments after his shovel hit the sand, he was approached by a National Parks Service police officer who asked for "press documents," claiming it was illegal for them to film in a national park unless they could prove they were with the media.
After providing his press pass, the officer, A. Negron, told Thomas that he couldn't dig in a national park, insisting that the law even applied to building sand castles.
WATCH (via CNN):