No Gasland Oscar, but no peace for the gas industry


The anti-natural gas drilling documentary Gasland didn’t’ capture an Oscar at the Academy Awards last night, much to the relief of the drilling industry.

Energy In Depth, the group formed largely to fight the backlash against hydraulic fracturing, has been rallying the troops against Gasland for more than a year, challenging everything from Josh Fox’s claims he’s from Pennsylvania to whether hydraulic fracturing was really exempted from any laws.

Fox has defended himself repeatedly in print and in interviews.

The folks with Greenwire took the back-and-forth claims between Fox and EID and did some fact-checking of their own on the dueling claims.

Their own conclusion: “The filmmaker and industry have each made errors and have spun some facts to their outer limits.”

But the Greenwire analysis seems to affirm EID’s challenges of the most effective image from Gasland— flaming tap water at two of the three homes that claim their water was contaminated by gas drilling. Greenwire seems to side with the “scientists can’t blame it on drilling conclusively” arguments.

But even if EID’s efforts to fight against fracking’s sullied reputation were to earn a gold star (an effort that some in the industry say simply isn’t working) the challenges to the industry continue to mount: This weekend the New York Times published a lengthy report about the dangers of drilling waste water disposal.

Already U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) is calling for the EPA to speed up its study of  fracking. Meanwhile, a former Pennsylvania environmental chief called the story a “hit piece” and noted it misses many improvements in the state’s regulations.

Tom Fowler

8 Responses

  1. bg says:

    There have not been “shortcuts” in well completion practices or waste or flowback frac (not frack) water disposal in PA–where is the factual documentation or corroboration? I have seen time and time again with delusional “environmentally conscious” individuals with too much time on their hands. There is often a common belief system of anti-government paranoia, petroleum industry conspiracies of world domination (be sure to mention Dick Cheney in there somewhere), and their water wells are contaminated. It is clear to me that the education system has long been failed in this country and poor writing and simple reasoning skills are only symptoms of the larger problem. Get out from under your foil hat and take a geology or better yet a hydrogeology class–I will even teach it for free.

  2. Trail Trash says:

    Tell you what Bret, for an elected offical of a county with Dimock in it, your spelling and grammer are not very good. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but your posting sounds bogus…much like the movie.

  3. turkw says:

    And your facts are…? They seem to be all ad hominem.

  4. Energy Moron says:

    Howdy Neighbor:

    The irony is that many of those practices in the NYT article would never have been allowed in Texas. And you should see the former PA surface water protection regulations (the updated ones still had not taken force last time I looked!) and compare them to that of Texas.

    We never had these problems in Texas because unlike PA we protected our water.

    Frac water disposal is typically handled by local companies and it is possible that the gas producers didn’t even know what was going on with the disposal.

    With respect to surface casing issues, MOST operators in PA were following best industry practice (like what we all do here in Texas)… too bad some took shortcuts.

    This ain’t the “fraccing”, as usual… it is bad operating practice that is sanctioned by PA state regulations (which, as noted, are improving).

    Why can’t we focus on what is important and really causing the problems? We don’t have these problems in Texas.

  5. I find Josh Fox’s account painful and real..I would know, I live in the Dimock Gasfield.

  6. Bret Jennings says:

    As an elected official living in a county with Dimock and having know that underground faults exhist in the county, you have to just look at the locations were drilling has been centered. There are two lawsuits, one in each are. For locations of faults look at the EPA’s Bendix superfund site and one will be noted and it is just a few miles from Dimock. Then in the south eastern part of the county another Gas drilling company has already concreted wells due to finding faults. When certain drilling companies come in and totally disreguard state laws including signing documents and later saying they had no choice when they did have a choice to take the violations to court there is only one response. Remove there ability to exhist and due buisness, and charge the officers of the corporation.

  7. bg says:

    “The filmmaker and industry have each made errors and have spun some facts to their outer limits.” I watched this Michael Moore-esque wannabe produced garbage and I found no facts whatsoever—except that that it was filmed on planet Earth. Josh Fox is not a documentary journalist in any sense nor is he credible unless comics have now become credible. Why do these activists think they can insult my work of 20+ years as a professional hydrogeologist. I have personally found that Hollywood portrayals of environmental litigation, Erin Brockovich and A Civil Action never present the scientific facts or just let them fly out the editing room door. It does not sell tickets to the dumbed-down citizenry of the U.S. that have the attention span of a gnat………unless it is tied to a flashy film or YouTube video bite.

  8. Trail Trash says:

    I’d like to thank the Academy for denying a award for this fantasy piece trying to pass itself off as a documentary.