Josh Fox’s sequel to his Oscar-nominated fracking expose, Gasland, premiered on HBO Monday and is being repeated throughout the month.
Gasland Part II, which debuted at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival, “shows how the stakes have been raised on all sides in one of the most important environmental issues facing our nation today.”
As well as tracking the impacts of the fracking industry on families and the environment across America, it covers what Fox describes as a “a new form of contamination—the capture of our regulatory agencies by the oil and gas industry.”
“The film argues that the gas industry’s portrayal of natural gas as a clean and safe alternative to oil is a myth and that fracked wells inevitably leak over time, contaminating water and air, hurting families, and endangering the earth’s climate with the potent greenhouse gas, methane. In addition the film looks at how the powerful oil and gas industries are, in Fox’s words, contaminating our democracy,” its website says.
If you liked the first movie, “you’ll love the sequel,” writes Joe Romm on thinkprogress.org. “I think it’s a better movie, more entertaining and even more compelling in making a case that we are headed on a bridge to nowhere — a metaphorical gangplank — with our hydraulic fracturing feeding frenzy.”
Fox made the first documentary after a fracking company tried to buy a drilling lease on his land in Pennsylvania. He then learned about the problems and Gasland was released in 2010.
It looked at the water contamination, air pollution and health effects of widespread fracking for natural gas – with the now famous scene of people setting a match to their water and watching with awe as it sparked with fire.
While attempting to film a Congressional hearing on the subject, Republicans had Fox arrested.
Fox tells LiveScience.com: “I wanted to ask with this next film, ‘Why wasn’t the government responding?’ We have multinational oil and gas companies going in and invading peoples’ backyards all across the country, causing this huge outcry. Why wasn’t our government sticking up for Americans, for peoples’ human rights in the face of this onslaught? In the first film, we were watching people light their water on fire. The second film is really about watching the oil and gas industry light our democracy on fire.”
Although a majority of Americans (65%) want fracking to be regulated, the Department of Interior’s plan, released in May is even weaker than its first version, since it’s based on ALEC‘s model bill – which was written by ExxonMobil!
In only six years, 450,000 fracking wells have been drilled in 31
states and that’s only the beginning. The industry has plans for tens of thousands more wells where billions of gallons of water mixed with industrial poisons will be pumped underground.
Believe it or not, under current law, the industry doesn’t have to prove fracking is safe – citizens and government have to prove it’s NOT safe.
In a letter to President Obama, Fox says:
We are aware that your administration has met with the natural gas industry and their representatives and lobbyists many times. We now ask you to meet with us: representatives of those suffering from unconventional drilling and fracking, and members of the scientific community who wish to inform you of the perils of this unprecedented push to drill.
We believe that the natural gas industry has not been forthcoming with your administration about the real effects of drilling and fracking on our water, air, land, climate, public health and safety-and on democracy itself. As such, we seek to discuss with you the dark side of fracking, a perspective that has not yet been presented to you with adequate weight or emphasis.
In the name of fairness and democracy, we implore that you meet with us, as you have met with the oil and gas industry.
Find out more about the movie and showing times: