James Osborn has just one question: "Would you drink it?"
"It" being a mysterious brown sludge -- allegedly fracking fluid -- that Osborn brought in a foam cup to a public hearing in Sidney, Nebraska, in front of the state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission on Tuesday.
And no, it wasn't a hypothetical question.
Osborn, the first of more than 50 people to speak out Tuesday on a proposed fracking wastewater storage well in the western part of the state, chatted amiably to the commissioners as he produced three plastic cups and poured a little bottled water into each. He then topped off each of the cups with a healthy portion of the mystery fluid, and offered them to the commissioners to drink.
"You told me this morning when I was in here... that you would drink this water," Osborn can be heard saying in a video posted to YouTube. He then gestures to the cups and calmly asks, "So, would you drink it?"
A pregnant silence follows, broken only when one of the commissioners cautions, "Sir, we [can't] comment on this."
Osborn spoke for several more minutes, then thanked the commissioners and the audience for their time and left the room.
According to the Omaha World-Herald, the three cups sat "untouched" for the remainder of the two-and-a-half-hour meeting.