Appalachian Basin

FrackNation, an Absolute Must See For Natural Gas Supporters

FrackNation premiered on TV last night.  Many watched from home and others got together with friends and family and watched it together.  The natural gas debate has brought supporters closer than ever, in fact.  We encourage everyone to watch the movie and offer our reviews in hopes you’ll do so.

Simply put; the movie FrackNation is a great film.  It speaks up for the forgotten men and women in the natural gas debate; the landowner, the worker and the consumer; the ordinary Americans to whom natural gas development means everything.  It premiered in New York City a few weeks ago and Tom had the opportunity to go see it in the city with several different landowners who appeared in the movie.  When he returned he told us how much he enjoyed it and posted about it here.  Nicole, Joe and I had the opportunity to see it last night and we all had a very similar reaction; the movie was exceptional on both a professional and emotional basis.


Here our individual reviews of FrackNation:

Nicole’s Review:

nicole-portraitI thought the movie was utterly amazing. After Tom returned from New York City and told us about it, I was excited to view it and wasn’t disappointed with what I saw last night. For me, it represented everything we’ve been talking about and working for the last two years since EID Marcellus was launched.

The impacts of the indecision in New York State and in the DRBC region of Pennsylvania are often heartbreaking, and it was great to finally see those landowners given a voice in the media. Unlike Josh Fox, we spend a lot of time talking with the 99 percent of landowners in Susquehanna County, including Dimock, who are happy with the natural gas industry, excited for the opportunities it has brought to the region, and still a part of a caring, united community.

It was absolutely refreshing to witness a journalist finally allowing them to tell their side of the story, one the media has often ignored throughout the last few years.

The most interesting part for me, aside from seeing so many familiar faces, was the discussion of the media and foreign involvement in perpetuating the “anti-natural gas industry.” I loved that it was described in that fashion because that’s what it is. All over the internet you can find job offers for activists and others to fight the natural gas industry–positions that wouldn’t be available without said industry, I might add–demonstrating their efforts go beyond the grassroots volunteering they often claim. It is an organized effort with an agenda of stopping domestic energy production, and FrackNation nailed it right on the head.

It was like a breath of fresh air to see a journalist finally willing to sit down and take the time to listen to the majority in these communities, and actually report on it.

Joe’s Review:

Joe MassaroI had been looking forward to the premier of FrackNation for some time now as I was hoping it would help to bring the truth out to the mainstream public; it did exactly that.  I found FrackNation extremely informative, not only about the process of hydraulic fracturing, but about the mentality of those opposed to this practice.

The film exposed Josh Fox as what we knew him to be all along, a fraudulent storyteller.  It showed the Sautners we profiled in Sautnergate; threatening and unable to provide hard evidence of water contamination.  FrackNation went as far as to show how certain cynical public figures have been backing the anti movement, thereby stripping away landowner rights and putting  in jeopardy their very way of life by depriving them of the income required to hold onto their land.

The most interesting part of the movie was the explanation for why we need abundant, cheap energy.  Those opposed constantly preach about renewable energy.  While I agree renewable energy is something we certainly need to develop further down the road, it isn’t something that is feasible now on any large scale, given the growth in the amount of energy needed each year.  Moreover, there are still places around the globe that don’t even have basic access to serious energy sources.  Banning the development of shale gas and other fossil fuels is condemning those places to never having the option of electricity.  The current price of renewables makes them not an option for these people.

FrackNation does a great job at explaining why we need cheap abundant energy and exposes the fact we do not have an energy crisis but, rather, a crisis of ignorance.

John’s Review:

johnkrohnQuite simply I thought “FrackNation” was masterfully done.  From an investigative journalist’s standpoint, Phelim covered many bases and, as the New York Times recently declared, had a dogged persistence to uncover the truth behind Josh Fox’s accusations.  In addition, “FrackNation” was the first piece of popular culture to highlight the main point in this whole discussion.  Hydraulic fracturing is one of our generations most important discoveries and is poised to shape our communities, the nation and the world over the course of our lifetimes.  It will literally supply the lifeblood our shared global economy needs to grow and prosper. As such, its effects will be far-reaching.  Very few other technologies have the mutual benefit of improving the lives of everyday Americans (who are the backbone and moral fiber of this nation) while challenging the economic security of some of the world’s most oppressive regimes.  It goes without saying that any issue that touches all of these areas is going to be controversial.  As they say, all politics is local, and in this case hydraulic fracturing is being tested by politics, politicians, and special interest groups across the globe.  Each have their own motive but they all seek the same goal.  Limit the expanse of fracturing to support their special interest.  It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

“FrackNation” showed, for the first time, that these shared efforts to resist fracturing’s advance have very real consequences.  Those include bankrupting hard-working American farmers, decreasing the quality of life for our European allies and limiting the supply of affordable energy that developing countries need to prosper.  For far too long those opposing hydraulic fracturing have operated with a sense of impunity and in some cases self-righteousness while ignoring these consequences. Hopefully, this film changes that dynamic. In my view, that would be a measure of its true success.

“FrackNation” also showed, for the first time, the inter-connectivity between individuals suing oil and gas companies (in many cases without merit) and their direct connections to special interest groups in Washington, D.C.  Don’t take my word for it, ask Julie Sautner. During the movie she told Phelim:

“I hope you make lot’s of money cause your going to need it. I will tell you that right now.  What do you think we are small time? I’ll have the NRDC and everybody else on you as fast…”

While the movie was very good overall, there were areas that blurred events and in some cases left out important details. As a result, it will likely receive criticism in the coming weeks from anti-natural gas activists and their friends in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere. Regardless, the message it brought needed to be told and made us all a bit more aware of how the manufactured controversy over hydraulic fracturing arrived at our doorstep.  Now that we have this information its up to each of us to decide whether we embrace a technology that is scientifically proven, creating insurmountable wealth, and helping reduce carbon emissions around the globe or reject it based on fear-driven speculation by multiple actors who, for various reasons, have a shared goal of keeping America’s hydrocarbons locked in the ground forever.

My Own Review:

Watching FrackNation for the first time last night was eye opening and energizing for me.

Over the past year and a half I have worked hand in hand with landowners, trying to stand up and support them whenever they needed it. I have gone to meetings just so they aren’t scared being the only supporter of natural gas in a room full of antis.  I have visited homes, farms, and businesses.  I’ve become passionate beyond what I ever imagined for the livelihood of the people who need natural gas to save those homes, farms, and businesses I have visited.  And, for the first time ever, I can put sincere feelings behind my favorite saying, “stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.”

I came into this position knowing there was going to be a long struggle fused with intense arguments, but I never realized, along the path, I would become so emotionally and personally involved in this struggle, not owning much land or holding a lease myself.  Watching farmers talk frankly about their situations, though, tugged on my heart strings.

Josh Fox tried his hardest to pull pity from everyone who watched Gasland but he gets none from me because he has misrepresented just about everything in his film, as FrackNation vividly demonstrates.  I feel bad for the people I work and interact with each day who just need one glimmer of hope to wake up in the morning and go to work to support their families.  Call me cynical, and maybe I am, but I don’t know how anyone could watch FrackNation and believe a word Fox said in Gasland.

Regardless of the emotional roller-coaster the movie takes you on when you live in the reality of FrackNation, there were several parts of the movie that were beyond funny.  I find it hard to pick the most humorous part but I”d say it’s a toss up between the following.

1)  Julie Sautner threatening to sue Phelim and telling him all about her pistol while suggesting she might resort to the ultimate punishment; siccing the NRDC on him. Or..

2)  The discussion of coffee, cabbage, and broccoli.  The idea these edible foods (being a vegetarian this just about sums up my entire diet) come with “risk” in high consumption really makes you think!

All in all I would argue this is a must see.  I am so thankful I had the opportunity to meet, work with, and experience all the amazing people featured in it.


Watching the Twitter feed last night following the showing of the movie on AXS Channel, it was clear just how big a hit the movie was with the people for whom we try to speak; those forgotten individuals whose message doesn’t fit the major media template in so many instances.  Everyone surrounding us as we watched the movie, absolutely loved it.  It was an extraordinary example of truth-telling that will go a long way in correcting a record distorted by Gasland.

Did you get a chance to watch it?  What was your reaction?  Give us your review to add to ours!


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