Movie Review Friday: Gasland
This week, a groundbreaking documentary called Gasland, written and directed by Josh Fox, premiered on HBO. A 2010 Sundance winner, the film was born when a gas company approached Fox with an enticing financial offer to lease his land in Wayne County, Pennsylvania, in the Marcellus Shale Ridge, an area dubbed “the Saudi Arabia of natural gas.” Fox was concerned that information about the risks didn’t exist.
So he set off on a trip across 34 states in which gas companies have been busy drilling on public and private land. During his journey, he learns about a new technique called hydraulic fracturing (developed by Halliburton, the corporation responsible for cementing BP’s well), which cracks the earth, then pumps tens of millions of gallons of water, mixed with chemicals, into the ground to extract natural gas.
Fox then returns to his home, where the same gas companies are raring to drill using the water from the Delaware River basin, the watershed that provides drinking water for the 17 million people who live in New York City, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
This powerful, stark film presents us with our chance to prevent another corporate-caused environmental calamity, as we realize that “fracking,” like offshore oil drilling, hasn’t been subject to sufficient impact studies or regulation, or a plan in case of emergency.