Thursday, April 26, 2012

Challenging "Gasland"

Crusading reporter Ann McElhinney is taking on the movie "Gasland" with a documentary movie of her own called "Fracknation", arguing that widely viewed documentary misrepresents the real situation of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") of shales in the eastern US for natural gas.   Ann followed me yesterday on the Energy Minerals Division luncheon program at the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Annual Meeting in Long Beach, California. (I spoke about the 'big data' revolution and what it means for the geosciences).    Her energy and enthusiasm fired up the room.

"Gasland" has gained worldwide notoriety for showing water from kitchen faucets being lit on fire purportedly from contamination due to fracking. It's created intense concerns about shale gas and fracking and prompted some nations to ban fracking outright.  Ann and her production team have been interviewing hundreds of residents in the towns in the film and researching the groundwater histories, to show that natural gas in local wells is a long standing problem preceding gas drilling and fracking by decades or even centuries. Thus explaining why numerous towns have names like "Burning Springs."

Ann and her fellow producers pitched their idea on the KickStart website and quickly raised all the funds they need to make Fracknation.  


  1. Anonymous8:32 AM

    This poat caught my attention through the photo and then the actual post.

    This is a very real problem. A family member lives in upstate NY and had to haul in water by the truckload when there has been little rain. She used the water stored in a cistern for washing and for the bathroom. She actually filled 5 gallon plastic containers and one gallon water bottles from a spring for drinking and cooking. She would not use the cistern water for drinking as during the wet months it was filled from snow melt or rain brought down from the roof.

    She was getting older and decided to drill a well. It cost around $10,000 and the area had a shale base. All they got was gas as she related it to everyone. They said they could do fracking to maybe release the water, but decided against it as the area was known to give nothing in return and the cost was too much.

    Moral of the story: This country has plenty of natural gas!

  2. Anonymous8:46 AM

    The problems go far beyond lighting water on fire. She is such a great journalist she has to take donations from politicians to make a film?

  3. In case you were not paying attention, Anonymous, all of the money raised to make the film through Kickstarter came from individuals who believe in drilling for natural gas. NO money was accepted from anyone affiliated with the industry in any way.

    As one of those who donated to the film in several ways, I can tell you that a silent large majority is in favor of natural gas drilling. This became clear very quickly as donations came pouring in from all over.

    We are the people who read the science, find out the actual results of scare stories in the press after the press has dropped it because it wasn't true after all, and we are the people who LIVE with the drilling. It is our land and our water but we are not concerned because we have taken the time to understand what hydraulic fracturing actually is.

  4. Never mind gas when are we going to run out of oil?