HBO to Premiere Explosive Natural Gas Documentary
WASHINGTON, June 18 -- Film director Josh Fox grew up in rural Pennsylvania on the Delaware River, which sits above the natural gas-rich Marcellus shale formation deep underground. When he was offered $100,000 to lease his property for natural gas exploration, Fox decided to chronicle drilling’s impact on the American landscape and its people. On Monday, June 21 at 9:00 p.m. EDT, Home Box Office (HBO) will premiere “Gasland,” Fox’s documentary on the dangers of natural gas exploration. Writing in Variety, the entertainment industry publication, critic Robert Koehler said, “If a film can ever enact social change, which is rare, the potency of “Gasland” suggests that this may be that film.” Gasland has won acclaim on the independent film festival circuit, including taking home the Special Jury prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.
“Gasland’s message is invaluable to our work educating lawmakers and the public on the dangers that unregulated natural gas drilling poses to public health and the environment,” said Dusty Horwitt, senior counsel at Environmental Working Group (EWG). “Mr. Fox’s film is particularly relevant in its depiction of the impact that unchecked gas drilling has had on the health of rural American families and the callous attitude of industry representatives.” “I leaned heavily on EWG’s research on natural gas extraction techniques as source material for Gasland,” said Fox. “EWG’s advocacy for safer drilling brings heft to arguments urging lawmakers at the local and national level to address the astounding lack of regulation of natural gas drilling,” Fox said. EWG is hosting a live chat with Fox following the HBO premiere on Tuesday June 22nd at http://www.enviroblog.org/2010/06/fracking-live-chat-with-ewg-gasland-di... Natural gas companies have industrialized the Western landscape, punching thousands of wells into pristine lands, injecting toxic chemicals, consuming millions of gallons of water, digging pits for hazardous waste and carving out sprawling road networks. Yet almost uniquely among U.S. industries, oil and gas drillers are exempt from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act and other federal environmental laws.
With the discovery of large natural gas reserves in the Marcellus shale, New York, Pennsylvania and other eastern states are now in line to experience similar devastation. As “Gasland” documents, residents of Pennsylvania have already had their drinking water contaminated in areas where drilling took place. Recent research by EWG has focused on a process known as horizontal drilling combined with hydraulic fracturing, which has enabled gas companies to unlock huge new deposits of gas buried in deep shale formations. Known as “fracking,” the process shatters the rock to allow captive gas and oil to flow to the surface. Fracking is used in 90 percent of the nation’s natural gas and oil wells. In “Drilling Around the Law,” http://www.ewg.org/drillingaroundthelaw, EWG showed that drilling companies are skirting federal law and injecting toxic petroleum distillates into thousands of wells, threatening drinking water supplies from Pennsylvania to Wyoming. Federal and state regulators, meanwhile, largely look the other way. A report titled “Free Pass for Oil and Gas in the American West”, documented that the boom in unregulated oil and natural gas exploration across the West poses a threat to public health and the environment. Exclusive EWG maps detailed drilling activity county by county. EWG Safe Drinking Water Fact Sheet Produced in Conjunction with Earthworks - http://www.ewg.org/Safe-Drinking-Water-Act-Should-Cover-Hydraulic-Fractu... Key findings of EWG’s reports included:
EWG is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment. http://www.ewg.org.