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Debunking GasLand

Josh Fox makes his mainstream debut with documentary targeting natural gas – but how much of it is actually true?

For an avant-garde filmmaker and stage director whose previous work has been recognized by the “Fringe Festival” of New York City, HBO’s decision to air the GasLand documentary nationwide later this month represents Josh Fox’s first real foray into the mainstream – and, with the potential to reach even a portion of the network’s 30 million U.S. subscribers, a potentially significant one at that.

But with larger audiences and greater fanfare come the expectation of a few basic things: accuracy, attention to detail, and original reporting among them. Unfortunately, in the case of this film, accuracy is too often pushed aside for simplicity, evidence too often sacrificed for exaggeration, and the same old cast of characters and anecdotes – previously debunked – simply lifted from prior incarnations of the film and given a new home in this one.

“I’m sorry,” Josh Fox once told a New York City magazine, “but art is more important than politics. … Politics is people lying to you and simplifying everything; art is about contradictions.” And so it is with GasLand: politics at its worst, art at its most contrived, and contradictions of fact found around every bend of the river. Against that backdrop, we attempt below to identify and correct some of the most egregious inaccuracies upon which the film is based (all quotes are from Josh Fox, unless otherwise noted):

Misstating the Law

(6:05) “What I didn’t know was that the 2005 energy bill pushed through Congress by Dick Cheney exempts the oil and natural gas industries from Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Superfund law, and about a dozen other environmental and Democratic regulations.”

  • This assertion, every part of it, is false. The oil and natural gas industry is regulated under every single one of these laws — under provisions of each that are relevant to its operations. See this fact sheet for a fuller explanation of that.
  • The process of hydraulic fracturing, to which Fox appears to be making reference here, has never in its 60-year history been regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). It has, however, been regulated ably and aggressively by the states, which have compiled an impressive record of enforcement and oversight in the many decades in which they have been engaged in the practice.
  • Far from being “pushed through Congress by Dick Cheney,” the Energy Policy Act of 2005 earned the support of nearly three-quarters of the U.S. Senate (74 “yea” votes), including the top Democrat on the Energy Committee; current Interior secretary Ken Salazar, then a senator from Colorado; and a former junior senator from Illinois named Barack Obama. In the U.S. House, 75 Democrats joined 200 Republicans in supporting the final bill, including the top Democratic members on both the Energy & Commerce and Resources Committees.

(6:24) “But when the 2005 energy bill cleared away all the restrictions, companies … began to lease Halliburton technology and to begin the largest and most extensive domestic gas drilling campaign in history – now occupying 34 states.”

  • Once again, hydraulic fracturing has never been regulated under SDWA – not in the 60-year history of the technology, the 36-year history of the law, or the 40-year history of EPA. Given that, it’s not entirely clear which “restrictions” in the law Mr. Fox believes were “cleared away” by the 2005 energy bill. All the bill sought to do was clarify the existing and established intent of Congress as it related to the scope of SDWA.
  • Interest in developing clean-burning natural gas resources from America’s shale formations began to manifest itself well before 2005. The first test well in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, for example, was drilled in 2004. In Texas, the first wells in the prolific Barnett Shale formation were spudded in the late 1990s. But even before natural gas from shale was considered a viable business model, energy producers had been relying on hydraulic fracturing for decades to stimulate millions of wells across the country. The technology was first deployed in 1948.
  • The contention that current energy development activity represents the “largest … drilling campaign in history” is also incorrect. According to EIA, more natural gas wells were developed in 1982 than today. And more than two times the number of petroleum wells were drilled back then as well, relative to the numbers we have today. Also, while it may (or may not) be technically true that fracturing activities take place in 34 states, it’s also true that 99.9 percent of all oil and gas activity is found in only 27 U.S. states (page 9, Ground water Protection Council report)

(32:34) “The energy task force, and $100 million lobbying effort on behalf of the industry, were significant in the passage of the ‘Halliburton Loophole’ to the Safe Drinking Water Act, which authorizes oil and gas drillers exclusively to inject known hazardous materials, unchecked, directly into or adjacent to underground drinking water supplies. It passed as part of the Bush administration’s Energy Policy Act of 2005.”

  • Not content with simply mischaracterizing the nature of existing law, here Fox attempts to assert that the law actually allows energy producers to inject hazardous chemicals “directly into” underground drinking water. This is a blatant falsehood. Of course, if such an outrageous thing were actually true, one assumes it wouldn’t have taken five years and a purveyor of the avant-garde to bring it to light.
  • The subsurface formations that undergo fracture stimulation reside thousands and thousands of feet below formations that carry potable water. These strata are separated by millions of tons of impermeable rock, and in some cases, more than two miles of it.
  • Once again, to characterize the bipartisan 2005 energy bill as having a “loophole” for hydraulic fracturing requires one to believe that, prior to 2005, hydraulic fracturing was regulated by EPA under federal law. But that belief is mistaken. And so is the notion that the 2005 act contains a loophole for oil and natural gas. As stated, hydraulic fracturing has been regulated ably and aggressively by the states.

(1:32:34) “Diana DeGette and Maurice Hinchey’s FRAC Act [is] a piece of legislation that’s one paragraph long that simply takes out the exemption for hydraulic fracturing to the Safe Drinking Water Act.”

  • Here Fox is referring to the 2008 iteration of the FRAC Act, not the slightly longer (though equally harmful) 2009 version of the bill. The legislation does not, as its authors suggest, “restore” the Safe Drinking Water Act to the way it was in 2004. It calls for a wholesale re-writing of it.
  • Here’s the critical passage from the FRAC Act: “Section 1421(d)(1) of the Safe Drinking Water Act is amended by striking subparagraph (B) and inserting: (B) includes the underground injection of fluids or propping agents pursuant to hydraulic fracturing operations related to oil and gas production activities.”
  • Why would you need to “insert” new language into a 36-year-old statute if all you were looking to do is merely “restore” it?

Misrepresenting the Rules

(1:00:56) “Because of the exemptions, fracking chemicals are considered proprietary … The only reason we know anything about the fracking chemicals is because of the work of Theo Colborn … by chasing down trucks, combing through material safety data sheets, and collecting samples.”

  • With due respect to eminent environmental activist and former World Wildlife Fund staffer Theo Colborn, no one has ever had to “chas[e] down a truck” to access information on the materials used in the fracturing process.
  • That’s because there’s actually a much easier way to obtain that information: simply navigate to this website hosted by regulators in Pennsylvania, this one from regulators in New York (page 130), this one for West Virginia, this one maintained by the Ground Water Protection Council and the U.S. Department of Energy (page 63), and this one on the website of Energy In Depth.

(1:03:33) Dr. Colborn: “Once the public hears the story, and they’ll say, ‘Why aren’t we out there monitoring’? We can’t monitor until we know what they’re using. There’s no way to monitor. You can’t.”

  • According to environmental regulators from Josh Fox’s home state of Pennsylvania, “Drilling companies must disclose the names of all chemicals to be stored and used at a drilling site … These plans contain copies of material safety data sheets for all chemicals … This information is on file with DEP and is available to landowners, local governments and emergency responders.”
  • Environmental regulators from Fox’s adopted state of New York also testify to having ready access to this information. From the NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) information page: “The [state] is assessing the chemical makeup of these additives and will ensure that all necessary safeguards and best practices are followed.”
  • According to the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC), “[M]ost additives contained in fracture fluids including sodium chloride, potassium chloride, and diluted acids, present low to very low risks to human health and the environment.” GWPC members include state environmental officials who set and enforce regulations on ground water protection and underground fluid injection.

Mischaracterizing the Process

(6:50) “[Hydraulic fracturing] blasts a mix of water and chemicals 8,000 feet into the ground. The fracking itself is like a mini-earthquake. … In order to frack, you need some fracking fluid – a mix of over 596 chemicals.”

  • As it relates to the composition of fluids commonly used in the fracturing process, greater than 99.5 percent of the mixture is comprised of water and sand. The remaining materials, used to help deliver the water down the wellbore and position the sand in the tiny fractures created in the formation, are typically components found and used around the house. The most prominent of these, a substance known as guar gum, is an emulsifier more commonly found in ice cream.
  • From the U.S. Dept. of Energy / GWPC report: “Although the hydraulic fracturing industry may have a number of compounds that can be used in a hydraulic fracturing fluid, any single fracturing job would only use a few of the available additives [not 596!]. For example, in [this exhibit], there are 12 additives used, covering the range of possible functions that could be built into a fracturing fluid.” (page 62)
  • In the documentary, Fox graphically depicts the fracturing process as one that results in the absolute obliteration of the shale formation. In reality, the fractures created by the procedure and kept open by the introduction of proppants such as sand are typically less than a millimeter thick.

(50:05) “Each well completion, that is, the initial drilling phase plus the first frack job, requires 1,150 truck trips.”

  • Suggesting that every well completion in America requires the exact same number of truck trips is absurd. As could be guessed, the number of trips required to supply the well site with the needed equipment and personnel will vary (widely) depending on any number of factors.
  • As it relates to a source for Fox’s identification of “1,150 truck trips,” none is given – although it appears he may have derived those numbers from a back-of-the-envelope calculation inspired by a chart on page 6-142 of this document from NY DEC. As depicted on that page, the transportation of new and used water supplies, to and from the wellsite, account for 85 percent of the trips extrapolated by Fox.
  • Unrepresented in this chart is the enormous growth in the amount of produced water that is currently being recycled in the Marcellus – with industry in Pennsylvania reusing and recycling on average more than 60 percent of its water, according to the Marcellus Shale Coalition.
  • According to GWPC: “Drilling with compressed air is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to drilling with fluids due to the increased cost savings from both reduction in mud costs and the shortened drilling times as a result of air based drilling.” (page 55)

(51:12) “Before the water can be hauled away and disposed of somewhere, it has to be emptied into a pit – an earthen pit, or a clay pit, sometimes a lined pit, but a pit – where a lot of it can seep right back down into the ground.”

  • The vast majority of energy-producing states – 27 in total, including all the ones to which Fox travels for GasLand – have explicit laws on the books governing the type of containment structures that must be used for temporarily storing flowback water. A number of producers today choose to store this water in steel tanks, eliminating all risk of that water re-entering the surrounding environment.
  • GWPC (May 2009) “In 23 states, pits of a certain type or in a particular location must have a natural or artificial liner designed to prevent the downward movement of pit fluids into the subsurface. … Twelve states also explicitly either prohibit or restrict the use of pits that intersect the water table.” (page 28-29)
  • GWPC (April 2009): “Water storage pits used to hold water for hydraulic fracturing purposes are typically lined to minimize the loss of water from infiltration. … In an urban setting, due to space limitations, steel storage tanks may be used.” (page 55)

Flat-Out Making Stuff Up

(53:36) “The Pinedale Anticline and the Jonah gas fields [of Wyoming] are directly in the path of the thousand year old migration corridor of pronghorn antelope, mule deer and sage grouse. And yeah, each of these species is endangered, and has suffered a significant decline of their populations since 2005.”

  • 0 for 1: Three species of the pronghorn antelope are considered “endangered,” none of which are found anywhere near the Pinedale Anticline. Those are: the Sonoran (Arizona), the Peninsular (Mexico), and the Mexican Pronghorn (also of Mexico). According to the Great Plains Nature Center: “The great slaughter of the late 1800s affected the pronghorns … Only about 12,000 remained by 1915.  Presently, they number around one million and the greatest numbers of them are in Wyoming and Montana.”
  • 0 for 2: Only one species of mule deer is considered “endangered”: the Cedros Island mule deer of Mexico (nowhere near Wyoming). The mule deer populations are so significant in Wyoming today that the state has a mule deer hunting season.
  • 0 for 3: The sage grouse does not currently have a place on the endangered species list, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) – and “robust populations of the bird currently exist across the state” of Wyoming, according to the agency. Interestingly, FWS recently issued a press release identifying wind development as a critical threat the sage grouse’s habitat.
  • That said, producers in the area have taken the lead on efforts to lessen their impact and reduce the number of truck trips required to service their well sites. As part of that project, operators have commissioned a series of independent studies examining additional steps that can be taken to safeguard the Anticline’s wildlife.

(8:07) “And now they’re coming east. They’re proposing 50,000 gas wells along a 75-mile stretch of the Delaware River and hundreds of thousands more across New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. From 1972 until now – my whole life – all of this has been protected.”

  • Not even the most optimistic scenario for future development in the Marcellus Shale in general, or along the Delaware River in particular, comes anywhere close to 50,000 natural gas wells. A recent study by Penn State Univ. projects that by the year 2020, producers will have developed 3,587 shale gas wells. A study conducted for policymakers in the Southern Tier of New York predicted a maximum of 4,000 wells for that region.
  • Where Fox comes up with his 50,000 figure is unknown. The protections to the area apparently in place since 1972 to which he refers are also unknown.

(19:27) “One thing was resoundingly clear: If the industry’s projections were correct, then this would be the end of the Catskills and the Delaware River Basin as we knew it. And it would mean a massive upheaval and redefinition of all of New York State and Pennsylvania.”

  • According to the Energy Information Administration, Pennsylvania is already home to 55,631 active natural wells; New York, according to DEC, is home to roughly 14,000. Again, even assuming the most active development scenario, Marcellus wells are expected to account for less than 10 percent of all wells in these two states over the next 10 to 20 years – not exactly the type of dramatic “upheaval” and “redefinition” that Fox suggests in his film.

(31:32) “In 2004, the EPA was investigating a water contamination incident due to hydraulic fracturing in Alabama. But a panel rejected the inquiry, stating that although hazard materials were being injected underground, EPA did not need to investigate.”

  • No record of the investigation described by Fox exists, so EID reached out to Dr. Dave Bolin, deputy director of Alabama’s State Oil & Gas Board and the man who heads up oversight of hydraulic fracturing in that state. In an email, he said he had “no recollection” of such an investigation taking place.
  • That said, it’s possible that Fox is referring to EPA’s study of the McMillian well in Alabama, which spanned several years in the early- to mid-1990s. In 1989, Alabama regulators conducted four separate water quality tests on the McMillian well. The results indicated no water quality problems existed. In 1990, EPA conducted its own water quality tests, and found nothing.
  • In a letter sent in 1995, then-EPA administrator Carol Browner (currently, President Obama’s top energy and environmental policy advisor) characterized EPA’s involvement with the McMillian case in the following way: “Repeated testing, conducted between May of 1989 and March of 1993, of the drinking water well which was the subject of this petition [McMillian] failed to show any chemicals that would indicate the presence of fracturing fluids. The well was also sampled for drinking water quality, and no constituents exceeding drinking water standards were detected.”
  • For information on what actually did happen in Alabama during this time, and how it’s relevant to the current conversation about the Safe Drinking Water Act, please download the fact sheet produced last year by the Coalbed Methane Association of Alabama.

(1:28:06) “Just a few short months after this interview, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection suffered the worst budget cuts in history, amounting to over 700 staff either being fired or having reduced hours and 25 percent of its total budget cut.”

  • DEP press release, issued January 28, 2010: “Governor Edward G. Rendell announced today that the commonwealth is strengthening its enforcement capabilities. At the Governor’s direction, the Department of Environmental Protection will begin hiring 68 new personnel who will make sure that drilling companies obey state laws and act responsibly to protect water supplies. DEP also will strengthen oil and gas regulations to improve well construction standards.”

Recycling Discredited Points from the Past

Weston Wilson (EPA “whistleblower”): “One can characterize this entire [natural gas] industry as having a hundred year history of purchasing those they contaminate.” (33:36)

  • Mr. Wilson, currently on staff at EPA’s Denver office, was not part of the team of scientists and engineers that spent nearly five years studying hydraulic fracturing for EPA. That effort, released in the form of a landmark 2004 study by the agency, found “no evidence” to suggest any relationship between hydraulic fracturing and the contamination of drinking water.
  • Wilson has a well-documented history of aggressive opposition to responsible resource and mineral development. Over his 35-year career, Mr. Wilson has invoked “whistleblower” status to fight dam construction in Colorado, oil and gas development in Montana, and the mining of gold in Wyoming.
  • Wilson in his own words: “The American public would be shocked if they knew we make six figures and we basically sit around and do nothing.”

Dunkard Creek: Fox includes images of dead fish along a 35-mile stretch of Dunkard Creek in Washington Co., Pa.; attributes that event to natural gas development. (01:23:15)

  • Fox’s attempt to blame the Dunkard Creek incident on natural gas exploration is contradicted by an EPA report – issued well before GasLand was released – which blamed the fish kill on an algal bloom, which itself was fed by discharges from coal mines.
  • EPA report: “Given what has been seen in other states and the etiology of this kill, we believe the toxin from this algae bloom led to the kill of fish, mussels, and salamanders on Dunkard Creek. … The situation in Dunkard Creek should be considered a chronic exposure since chloride levels were elevated above the criteria for long periods of time.” (issued 11/23/09)
  • Local PA newspaper calls out Fox: “One glaring error in the film is the suggestion that gas drilling led to the September fish kill at Dunkard Creek in Greene County. That was determined to have been caused by a golden algae bloom from mine drainage from a [mine] discharge.” (Washington (Pa.) Observer-Reporter, 6/5/10)

Mike Markham: Fox blames flammable faucet in Fort Lupton, Colo. on natural gas development

  • But that’s not true according to the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). “Dissolved methane in well water appears to be biogenic [naturally occurring] in origin. … There are no indications of oil & gas related impacts to water well.” (complaint resolved 9/30/08, signed by John Axelson of COGCC)
  • Context from our friends at ProPublica: “Drinking water with methane, the largest component of natural gas, isn’t necessarily harmful. The gas itself isn’t toxic — the Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t even regulate it — and it escapes from water quickly, like bubbles in a soda.” (Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica, 4/22/09)

Lisa Bracken: Fox blames methane occurrence in West Divide Creek, Colo. on natural gas development.

  • That assertion has also been debunked by COGCC, which visited the site six separate times over 13 months to confirm its findings: “Stable isotopes from 2007 consistent with 2004 samples indicting gas bubbling in surface water features is of biogenic origin.” (July 2009, COGCC presentation by Margaret Ash, environmental protection supervisor)
  • Email from COGCC supervisor to Bracken: “Lisa: As you know since 2004, the COGCC staff has responded to your concerns about potential gas seepage along West Divide Creek on your property and to date we have not found any indication that the seepage you have observed is related to oil and gas activity.” (email from COGCC’s Debbie Baldwin to Bracken, 06/30/08)
  • More from that email: “These samples have been analyzed for a variety of parameters including natural gas compounds (methane, ethane, propane, butane, pentane, hexanes), heavier hydrocarbon compounds including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes (BTEX), stable isotopes of methane, bacteria (iron related, sulfate reducing, and slime), major anions and cations, and other field and laboratory tests. To date, BTEX compounds have not been detected in any of the samples.”

Calvin Tillman: Fox interviews mayor of DISH, Texas; blames natural gas development, transport for toxins in the air, benzene in blood.

  • Tillman in the press: “Six months ago, nobody knew that facilities like this would be spewing benzene. Someone could come in here and look at us and say, ‘You know what? They’ve sacrificed you. You’ve been sacrificed for the good of the shale.'” (Scientific American, 3/30/10)
  • A little more than a month later, Texas Dept. of State Health Services debunks that claim: “Biological test results from a Texas Department of State Health Services investigation in Dish, Texas, indicate that residents’ exposure to certain contaminants was not greater than that of the general U.S. population.” (DSHS report, May 12, 2010)
  • More from the agency: “DSHS paid particular attention to benzene because of its association with natural gas wells. The only residents who had higher levels of benzene in their blood were smokers. Because cigarette smoke contains benzene, finding it in smokers’ blood is not unusual.”

Anything we miss? Guess we’ll be seeing you at the movies. Maybe not this one, though.

41 Comments
  • Energy In Depth » Blog Archive » Durham Bull
    Posted at 11:30 am, November 17, 2011 Reply

    […] piece • EID image: How far down below the water table does fracturing take place? • Fact-Check: Debunking GasLand (Fact […]

  • EID Ohio » Blog Archive » UPDATE: Cincinnati Lawmaker “Bungles” the Facts on Fracturing
    Posted at 3:24 pm, January 13, 2012 Reply

    […] shale development statewide as the movie Gasland, which we have thoroughly debunked here.  We would suggest a better source of information might be agencies like the U.S. Department of […]

  • Knapp
    Posted at 9:57 pm, February 29, 2012 Reply

    I am a public health practitioner. I hold my Masters in Public Health and currently am a second year doctoral student in Public Health. All public health parameters (Health Indicators: Access to income, fresh foods, medical care, people living longer, etc.) are all associated where natural gas is taking place in area populations that is experiencing the drilling and extraction of natural gas. People are Healthier!

    First:

    Did you know the people in Dimock had methane in their water 30, 40 years ago before drilling ever occurred? Yes I saw the well logs of some of the residents. The methane is a pre-existing condition.

    Second:

    Have you ever seen the ratio of Assemblyman in New York State between upstate and downstate?

    Third:

    Populations and money. With natural gas coming into New York upstate the Assembly members power may be compromised in ways. There may be a shift of population and money in such a way when drilling occurs in the upstate that New York may see a shift in power in the Assembly? That is possible. Will it happen? Time will tell apparently. That is the fight!

  • forrest self
    Posted at 10:01 am, March 25, 2012 Reply

    I have been in the oil and gas industry for 23 years and have extensive experience in fracing. josh fox, always remember it is better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt!!!!! Get your facts right. this country wasnt founded on lies. Yet your movie was. What the hell???? Your information is faulty, and it is a shame that you will put so much as one dollar in your pocket over this so called documentary. What you should do is buy stock in haliburton!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Corey
    Posted at 12:25 pm, April 11, 2012 Reply

    Apparently the author didn’t research his argument concerning the Safe Drinking Water Act…

    SEC. 322. HYDRAULIC FRACTURING.
    Paragraph (1) of section 1421(d) of the Safe Drinking Water
    Act (42 U.S.C. 300h(d)) is amended to read as follows:
    ‘‘(1) UNDERGROUND INJECTION.—The term ‘underground
    injection’—
    ‘‘(A) means the subsurface emplacement of fluids by
    well injection; and
    ‘‘(B) excludes—
    ‘‘(i) the underground injection of natural gas for
    purposes of storage; and
    ‘‘(ii) the underground injection of fluids or propping
    agents (other than diesel fuels) pursuant to hydraulic
    fracturing operations related to oil, gas, or geothermal
    production activities.’’.

  • Nick
    Posted at 11:47 pm, April 12, 2012 Reply

    Look at the bottom of this page. For me it says it all. It’s the Independent Petroleum Association of America. In other words this information is being given to us by the very same people who are doing the Hydraulic Fracturing. How do we know this is reliable information? The answer is we don’t. Just like the Gasland examples above, the explanation above can be looked at as using carefully framed language to avoid being factually inaccurate, but at the same time being able to shape the context and how it reads out to people looking at it. Look very carefully at what is being said up above. This is hardly “debunking Gasland.”

    P.S. if this comment is allowed to go up and isn’t deleted, that is the only good thing I could give this page credit for.

  • Reading Is Fundamental
    Posted at 1:41 pm, April 20, 2012 Reply

    Apparently Corey didn’t read his own argument concerning the Safe Drinking Water Act…

    specifically the part where he quoted the word “excludes”.

    The author correctly indicates the state of the law and that is explicitly excludes, to this day, hydrofracking from the list of underground injection. Corey has some homework to do.

  • Ricky
    Posted at 10:47 am, April 28, 2012 Reply

    may withhold and declare certain information as a trade secret for purposes of Section 552.110, Government Code, including the identity and amount of the chemical ingredient used in a hydraulic fracturing treatment

  • BizzyBlog
    Posted at 1:32 am, April 29, 2012 Reply

    […] Independent Petroleum Association of America’s Energy In Depth blog thoroughly debunked so much of what is in “Gasland” in June 2010 that one almost has to conclude that the […]

  • A Year Ago, IBD Noted Venezuelan Funding of Deeply Flawed ‘Gasland’ Documentary on Which EPA’s ‘Crucify’ Official Collaborated | FavStocks
    Posted at 3:23 am, April 29, 2012 Reply

    […] Independent Petroleum Association of America’s Energy In Depth blog thoroughly debunked so much of what is in “Gasland” in June 2010 that one almost has to conclude that the […]

  • famous scientist
    Posted at 10:00 am, April 30, 2012 Reply

    Good luck getting people behind this one. Though you make some VERY
    fascinating points, youre going to have to do more than bring up a few
    things that may be different than what weve already heard. What are
    trying to say here? What do you want us to think? It seems like you
    cant really get behind a unique thought. Anyway, thats just my opinion.

  • Steve Everley: Greens to Michelle Obama: Ignore Science, Please (anti-shale movement getting desperate) | JunkScience.com
    Posted at 2:36 am, May 18, 2012 Reply

    […] fracturing. The group – which was founded by none other than Angela Monti Fox, the mother of Gasland director Josh Fox – alleges that hydraulic fracturing is causing irreversible environmental […]

  • Spatch
    Posted at 5:37 am, May 23, 2012 Reply

    famous_scientist: It sure seems like the author wants you to think, period, rather than sit back and succumb to inaccurate and damaging edutainment. Even assuming this piece has an agenda (and what’s wrong with that?), it seems to stick its neck out a bit further by presenting sources for the data behind its assertions rather than glibly asserting “And yeah, each of these species is endangered”. This invites independent fact-checking. I think the most relevant passage is the part about there being up to two miles of rock between the shale formations and the water supply.

    Sadly, most people inclined to watch GasLand have already programmed themselves to believe it in advance and probably have insufficient interest to actually read this rebuttal, let alone any of the linked sources. Apparently just saying “Halliburton” a lot constitutes valid experimental data for the “Party of Science”.

  • « Michelle Obama, bloquez le gaz de schiste »
    Posted at 6:47 am, May 31, 2012 Reply

    […] groupe, qui a été fondé par nulle autre qu’Angela Monti Fox, la mère du metteur en scène de Gasland, prétend que la fracturation hydraulique cause des dégâts environnementaux irréversibles. Une […]

  • SB
    Posted at 1:28 pm, June 14, 2012 Reply

    Corey, it seems you did not read it properly. The section you showed exists
    because it was explicitly done after 2008. Check the section mentioned at 1:32:34. Could you show a version of the SDWA prior to say, 2000 ? If the same section contains the same language prior to 2000, then your argument would be valid.

  • Joe
    Posted at 11:33 am, June 15, 2012 Reply

    Wow Nick. What’s it like living in denial? Do you believe in Santa? Bet you do.

  • TOGA Prepares Tuscarawas County for Utica Development - EID Ohio
    Posted at 4:31 pm, June 20, 2012 Reply

    […] oil and gas development.  During his presentation Dr. Chase even shared his feelings on the movie Gasland, a film that, unfortunately, has caused for a lot of misconceptions and unnecessary concerns […]

  • Gasland Director Josh Fox on His New Film, Gas Industry Lies and Government Collusion | worldwide hippies
    Posted at 1:00 am, July 05, 2012 Reply

    […] gas had migrated up to his water from the drilling. So, the gas industry responded – and theyresponded in many ways to your documentary – but the main response to this particular scene was that the gas was biogenic, that is, naturally […]

  • Untruths and Consequences; Unless Your Name Is Josh Fox | Energy In Depth – Northeast Marcellus Initiative
    Posted at 11:00 am, July 08, 2012 Reply

    […] Let’s examine just three of those plainly false assertions and “facts.”  Read Energy In Depth’s debunking for several […]

  • EvanD
    Posted at 9:53 pm, July 09, 2012 Reply

    A study by Duke University has confirmed that methane levels in water are much higher closer to fracking sites than anywhere else. I think it is ridiculous the complete denial by the gas industry that fracking has any effect on water when there is so much evidence to the contrary, and yes, I can back that statement up.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/05/02/1100682108.full.pdf+html

  • Caroline Residents Weigh in on Proposed Natural Gas Development Ban | Energy In Depth – Northeast Marcellus Initiative
    Posted at 10:19 am, August 24, 2012 Reply

    […] an industry “exemption” from the Safe Drinking Water Act that has been created.  The process of hydraulic fracturing has never been regulated under this act in the 60 years its been around.  Instead, it has been regulated aggressively by […]

  • Red Team
    Posted at 2:16 pm, September 10, 2012 Reply

    Before hoping all over this guy’s movie as a vanity project, why not consider the cost/benefit of using Fracking as a means of energy harvesting.

    http://tutbalh.blogspot.com/2012/09/fracking-is-little-harder-to-ignore.html

  • Todd Hartwig
    Posted at 3:43 am, October 03, 2012 Reply

    People remember when VP Cheney had all those closed door meetings with the energy execs. They were in the process of getting around the clean water act.
    They couldn’t tell us the truth there was a reason they were closed door meetings. If you’ve seen gasland you know why they couldn’t tell us. I guess they came to the conclusion that they were tired of all the power they have given away by buying foreign oil. Hell lets just pollute our own back yard in the name of profit. People like Cheney and Rex Tillerson and T.Boone Pickens have never cared about anyone who couldn’t help them make a buc.They don’t care if you get sic or die in the name of their profits. Cheney wants to take us all with him to the death bed. Remember his lies about Iraq. I know I still shiver at the thought of Big Bad Saddam coming to get me after he cooks his yellow cake into a bomb. What a joke this site is. If you believe the crap on this site I’ve got land to sell to you.

  • Twisted Poet
    Posted at 12:26 am, October 13, 2012 Reply

    I guess the IR video showing venting gasses from a condensate tank blowing towards a school are just made up too?

    They don’t really use sprayers to try to evaporate the chemical waste water into the air, that was all done with photoshop or something. If you spray something into the air, it WILL come back down.

    There is nothing I have seen above that “debunks” Gasland.

    Yes, some of the info can be skewed. That is expected. It is a documentary. Just like Michael Moore’s documentaries, you EXPECT them to be slanted in favour of the opinion being expressed.

    The same as all the info on THIS page, paid for by the oil and gas industry, will be slanted in favour of ITS position. That Fracing is harmless…

    I enjoyed the congressman in the hearing making his statement that without this we would be more dependant on foreign oil… and terrorism.

    Gotta get that terrorism bit in there, eh.

    Oh, my God, the terrorists are everywhere. Terror, terror, terror.

    Justify ANYTHING in the name of stopping terrorism. Sounds more like hating brown people to me.

    I suppose the map of Dallas/Fort Worth is a lie as well, showing all the gas wells around the city.

    The aerial photos have been doctored. There aren’t that many Gas Wells… it’s all done with mirrors.

    The number of trucks used. He gives RANGES of numbers of trucks, so he doesn’t say all wells use the same number of trucks. This activity… 5 to 15 trucks, that activity 10 to 40 trucks, 400 to 600 trucks of water. Even if you take the LOWEST number in each example instead of the median or the high number, it’s still a LOT of trucks, a LOT of diesel burned. A LOT of water destroyed.

    Many of the chemicals that are used are, in the words of the gentleman at the hearing, in the environment for good once they are put in there. We know that not every gallon of fracing fluid has all 596 chemicals in it. But it is also not as YOU suggest above, that it is mostly water, salt and guar gum, that is used in ice cream.
    When listening to any argument, listen to both sides. Each will slant the info in their favour, and the truth will usually be somewhere in the middle. Unfortunately, in THIS instance, the MIDDLE is vastly polluted and unhealthy for humans.

    Your site also assumes 100% compliance with any regulations that exist, when we KNOW that in the real world, it doesn’t happen. A truck is paid to haul away and safely dispose of waste. But what if it doesn’t. What if someone that doesn’t know what the consequences are decides that he is short on money and just pulls up by a stream and opens the valves.

    DON’T say it doesn’t happen, because we KNOW it DOES happen.

    We’ve seen it time and again in the chase for the almighty dollar. If the situation in Dimock in not in any way the fault of the gas drilling, then why are the gas companies replacing water for the affected people that can prove their claims.

    Why should an affected person have to hire and pay for a lawyer to file a claim and PROVE that they have been damaged by this.

    A simple statement should suffice.

    We have lived here for 20 years. The water has always been good. Then they drilled a gas well and fraced it. 2 weeks later our well water turned brown and now it is bubbling and hissing from the tap and when we paid to have it tested there is toluene and benzine in it. Not just methane, that is from natural sources. The gas company should be required to PROVE that they are NOT interfering with the water.

    Seems a bit convenient to me that that natural and unrelated contamination of this water just HAPPENS to begin shortly after the fracing.

  • Joe f
    Posted at 10:38 pm, November 15, 2012 Reply

    Talk about denial! Can’t imagine why oil & gas producers would drill in an area where oil And gas bubbles out of the ground! Put your money where your mouth is and buy a bike children.

  • Mr. Everyone
    Posted at 9:31 pm, November 23, 2012 Reply

    Don’t get uptight by the amount of people who seem to be in favor of FRACing. They are just a small part of a much larger group of people who get paid to push agendas. Even this page could be the product of the energy companies to draw out debate. To those who have more common sense I say “Keep the Faith”.

  • To Frack or Not to Frack? | Drugs, More or Less
    Posted at 7:41 am, November 26, 2012 Reply

    […] http://www.energyindepth.org/debunking-gasland/ Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]

  • Rob Menard
    Posted at 6:13 pm, December 06, 2012 Reply

    I watched gasland Yes things have skewed to favor.the author but frankly If I were in govt. I would not allow shsle gas exploration at all. I live in Manitoba Canada and our current govt has many concerns about fracking. I hope they say no.

  • Rob
    Posted at 9:20 pm, December 07, 2012 Reply

    Consider the sources “debunking” the documentary: IPAA and ANGA. Oil and Gas promoters/profiteers.

  • Truthland, la réponse du berger à la bergère « Le Geolo Blog
    Posted at 9:25 am, December 13, 2012 Reply

    […] Etats Unis, après de nombreuses analyses expliquant scientifiquement les faits dont Josh Fox voulait se faire le héraut et notamment la […]

  • Jay
    Posted at 4:13 pm, December 13, 2012 Reply

    Why would Cheney/Halliburton need to exempt fracking from all key federal environmental regulations if it’s so safe? I suggest we make all politicians and natural gas corporate executives drink the water from the wells next to fracking sites for 60 – 90 days? Before the people start the test they are tested for toxicity levels in their bodies and tested after they drink the water. If fracking is save, they would have no additional toxic chemicals in their bodies and proving their point. If not…..to bad for them.

    Cheney/Halliburton exempted one industry from the same environmental regulations most all other companies are held to. Why/how was Cheney able to get away with this? Cheney should be in jail for this. If we dumped these chemicals into a public water system, we would be in jail for a long time. Cheney, thanks for putting back to the 1950’s when companies could pretty much dump any toxic chemical where they wanted.

    Remember the movie Erin Brockovich? PG&E used hexavalent chromium to fight corrosion in the cooling tower. The wastewater dissolved the hexavalent chromium from the cooling towers and was discharged to unlined ponds at the site. Some of the wastewater percolated into the groundwater, affecting an area near the plant approximately 2 by 1 miles and make a large number of people sick and ultimately killing others. Take that situations/lawsuit and multiply it by 100,000+ and I feel it will be close the problem with fracking.

    People keep talking about jobs. What about the cost to taxpayers when it comes to additional health care costs and costs to clean up the damaged environment?

    Get your heads out of the corporate wallet and start becoming independent thinkers. My god, how bad does it need to get before you realize the large energy companies could care less about you and I, and only about their stock price and their bonus. If you’ve ever worked at a Director or higher level for a large corporation, you will know what I’m talking about when it comes to making your bonus, people could care less if they are ethical or not. It’s only about making your bonus.

    J

  • Hollywood’s Fictionalizing Fiction of Fracking | Oracle of Reason
    Posted at 10:59 am, December 26, 2012 Reply

    […] the oil and gas industry howled at its claims, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was supportive enough of Gasland […]

  • Sonny
    Posted at 1:50 pm, December 28, 2012 Reply

    Full disclosure: I have been in the O&G industry for 15 years and a royalty owner for 30. I have been involved with fracking and drilling wells and have seen the best and worst of this industry first hand. I’m a small fish in a big pond. I try to do the right thing for landowners and investors, sometimes at a financial burden to me and it pisses me off to no end when the IPPA, state agencies and a bunch of law and film makers defend these companies with generic statements and facts that can be debunked by a 5 year old. If I operated and did the things I have seen in person and in these documentaries I would be fined out of business. Money talks in the oil patch and in offices of the regulators that monitor it.

    Fracking has been around for a long time. The process has been modernized and scaled up a bit but the principals are the same. Fracking is highly dangerous and environmentally reckless. If the damn cement job is done CORRECTLY then there is almost no chance of water contamination(at the well). But we all know that CORRECTLY is more the exception than the rule for most large companies. You have to complete the well properly and then check the work but that takes tike and money. For large oil and gas companies its easier to pay a fine after something happens than do the right thing the first time. I have seen it done and heard it told to their people in the field. EPA, DEQ, state fines and lawsuit settlements(better hope you don’t live in a state with tort reform laws on the books) are figured into some prospect developments when an area poses some tough operation logistics.

    I think there is a bigger problem with disposing of the waste water than the fracking itself. SWD wells are a forgotten part of this latest boom

    All that being said, oil and gas e & p can not be done without polluting the environment, just plain and simple. Now that impact could be greatly lessened if companies acted responsible and feared regulators, but that’s a pipe dream at this point. Technology is available to capture and dispose venting gas, properly treat and dispose of waste water and keep well site contamination down but its all extremely expensive. From the boardroom to the derrick, people in this industry are some of the most stubborn, arrogant and ignorant individuals you will ever come across.

    All these statements on behalf of the industry have been paid for. We know it and they know we know it but yet here we are.

    Better hope for an alternative energy breakthrough in the next 30 years or we’re all gonna be in a world of hurt

  • big ragu
    Posted at 4:50 pm, January 07, 2013 Reply

    wow,
    just saw the film, devastating information, even with the irregularities and misrepresentation of facts outlined above, something just doesn’t seem ethical about pumping all these harmful chemicals, most of which are not biodegradable into our environment.
    i understand the whole need to lessen our reliance of middle eastern oil, and it is important for our safety and security to strive to be energy independent, but is this cost too high?
    is it necessary to inject these chemicals?
    is there a safer, more modern, or environmentally safer way to frack?
    excuse my naiveté, i am not pretending to be an expert, i am a conservative voting, concerned
    middle aged father….are there any books, websites, blogs that uncover the truth about this process?
    please advise

  • Larry
    Posted at 4:23 pm, January 12, 2013 Reply

    Here we are just north of Trenton NJ living four miles from the Delaware River on which,as pointed out in GasLand, millions depend for drinking water. The issue here is will the legislature and Governor Christie prevent waste water from fracking in PA being shipped to NJ for disposal in the most densely populated state in the nation.

    To the north in my old hometown, Albany, NY, Governor Cuomo is vascillating on the matter of baning fracking in NY.

    I think the name Marcellus Shale is taken from the town of Marcellus NY just south of Syracuse. I hate the idea of fracking in beautiful finger lakes region.

  • Rick
    Posted at 1:48 pm, January 13, 2013 Reply

    This only scratches the surface of the issues we face today, as long as those in big business lobby our legislators and our legislators are not held accountable for what they do with total disclosure, we the people will never get straight answers and as long as our legislators are compensated by big business in one form or another weather it’s shares of stock owned or political contributions we the people will never have the peace of mind that our politicians wouldn’t violate the public trust, today there are very few who can’t be bought or compensated for by being forced into compromising our basic human values and needs, this is a sad state of affairs for America and one that if not resolved and amended will destroy the very natural resources that have made our country great “The Land” “The Water” “The Air” … If things keep going in the direction they are some phrases in our national anthem might be changed: America the beautiful for smoggy sky for wilted waves of grain for putrid mountains majesty above the fractured plains… you get the idea just look at the increased rate of asthma related illness’s and allergies over the recent years we are all being chemically poisoned slowly and our immune systems are faltering under constant attack, the only way to correct these things is to get involved at every level and stand together in great enough numbers to be heard, we can not just muddle through our daily lives any longer relying on politicians to do the right thing we must insist and ensure that they do or they get replaced with those who really do have our nations best interests at heart.

  • Steve Lindsey
    Posted at 9:14 pm, January 23, 2013 Reply

    FrackNation the Documentary completely destroys Gasland.

    Funny how Fox will not answer questions as to the “misleading” misrepresentations of his so called documentary.

    If you want to see phantoms you will see phantoms. Many of the supposed issues are just people trying top get in on law-suits in a get some for me campaign.

  • Stephen
    Posted at 9:03 am, January 27, 2013 Reply

    Yes, more methane maybe be found in the drinking water near the NG wells than anywhere else. Could it be that is why the oil people are drilling there? Becaue the product exists there, so go get it? Logic people, logic please.

    The problem is that somany people have been indoctrinated to hate anything bigger than themselves, so no set of facts will disuade them from their beliefs.

  • Paul
    Posted at 10:37 am, March 13, 2013 Reply

    Is there any journalistic or scientific reason why this de-bunking needed to be written sarcastically?

    The fracking fluid doesn’t have harmful chemicals in it? It’s just water and ice-cream?

    I actually came here to see the other side of the story, but there’s nothing here to make me feel you’re taking it seriously, let alone totally honest.

    I’m still looking for an alternate, positive, view on fracking – but not here.

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