Gasland is a film by Josh Fox which highlights the dangers of fracking. It aired in June 2010 on HBO and was an award winner at the Sundance Film Festival. In his first person style documentary Fox explores the dangers of extracting natural gas and its impact on the environment. His findings are both upsetting and disturbing, presented in the most human and sympathetic way possible – as a man caught directly in the firing line.
Natural gas was hailed by energy corporations as the cleanest natural resource, a transition between the heavily polluting fossil fuels and cleaner, renewable sources such as wind and solar, but Fox’s investigations, as well as evidence now cropping up in other areas, show that natural gas is anything but environmentally sound.
In 1995, Dick Cheney, a key figure during the Bush administration assumed the mantle of CEO and Chairman of Haliburton, a major player in the oilfield drilling business. They are the second largest oilfield company in the world and are now heavily involved in drilling for natural gas. The process requires a deadly cocktail of toxic chemicals mixed with sand and water which are pumped into underground shale beds at extremely high pressure in order to fracture the rock and release natural gas.
This practise is called hydraulic fracturing or Fracking.
Fox visits rural backwater towns where residents complain of anomalies in their water supplies. Coincidentally the problems began shortly after the gas drilling companies rolled into the area.
Anomalies include wells bubbling, gurgling and in some cases even exploding. Even worse, their water supplies became so contaminated that they could light the water from their faucets.
When affected families asked the drilling company representatives to drink the water they had been assured was fine, the representatives refused, yet still maintained it was fine for the residents to drink.
Furthermore, the American government passed a law which gave power to the drilling corporations. Now called the “Halliburton Loophole,” it exempts all companies drilling for natural gas from complying with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, including those involved in drilling in the Marcellus Shale, upon which water supplies wind from West Virginia to New York.
Cheney’s influence apparently knows no bounds.
A Fracking Nightmare
As a result of the fracking procedure, water supplies have been rendered useless, dairy cows that have drunk contaminated water have been quarantined, their milk no longer fit for human consumption, and fish stocks have been severely depleted. Local residents have fallen ill with vomiting, headaches, hair loss and many domestic animals have died.
Fears among New York residents are that it won’t be long before the impact will be felt in the city itself.
The western Pennsylvanian community of Licking has notched up a small victory against the corporate monsters. They wanted more say in happens within their borders so the 500 residents defied state laws by banning corporations from dumping fracking wastewater within their territory.
Licking is another town that sits on the Marcellus Shale, described as a virtual ocean of untapped natural gas and On October 12th, 2010, the Licking Township Board of Supervisors made a unanimous vote to ban corporations from dumping fracking wastewater within the township.
Mik Robertson, chairman of the Licking Township Supervisors said, “When it comes to land use issues and the preservation of important resources, the local community is best suited to set priorities as they feel impacts most acutely.”
Through this stance there is hope that more communities will stand up against the money spinning corporations and protect the environment and its dwellers.
Watch the trailer for Gasland here:
Other celebs on the environmental campaign include David Arquette.
Please share your thoughts on fracking, Gasland or Dick Cheney and Haliburton by leaving a comment.
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