Appalachian Basin

FrackNation Showdown in Callicoon Leaves Many Pleased

This past weekend there was a FrackNation screening in Callicoon, New York.  The movie was shown at the exact same time as Gasland Part II and was received with much acclaim due to its fact-based approach to discussing shale development.

The Joint Landowners Coalition of New York helped organize the FrackNation screening and continues to help spread the truthful message about natural gas throughout New York.  They are also still looking for all the help they can get to move forward with their lawsuit, by the way, which is a natural outgrowth of what FrackNation is all about – the refusal of some to listen to reason.

Before the screening there were several people gathered on the street.  Some were waiting to see FrackNation while others lined up to see Gasland Part II (debunked here).  I had the opportunity to talk with many of them before the screening and they all felt very similar about FrackNation and Gasland Part II.

The people who came to see FrackNation, as I see it, are those who value real world struggles and commitments such as paying bills, raising families and making a living.  They value facts.  They see the information and science and are ready to move forward. Meanwhile, supporters of Josh Fox and Gasland II seem to have created their own “reality”; one that lets them exhibit what they believe to be a social conscience without having to pay a price for it.  These folks seem to think they’re entitled to their own version of the truth and rely heavily on scare tactics and emotional please in order to further their cause.

McAleer discussed this general theme with one reporter who attended the FrackNation screening.  He basically says no matter what experience dictates and how many times a government organization reiterates the safety of natural gas production, anti’s will dispute the assertion.  McAleer also informed the reporter that over one million natural gas wells have been hydraulically fractured without one incident of groundwater contamination.  According to McAleer, the reality is there is less than a one in a million chance of something bad happening to a personal water well when developing natural gas.

Following the screening, one landowner told us exactly what she thought.  She summed up what many who support natural gas development were thinking.

Once the crowd filed into the café, they watched FrackNation and were able to ask McAleer questions.  The audience had  many good questions, including one man who told McAleer he and his wife were not very familiar with the natural gas industry.  The gentleman said he watched FrackNation and his wife went in to see Gasland Part II.  He felt like he learned a lot from the film but had a few questions about produced water, which was exactly the type of question one would hope for at such an event.

Dimock, Pennsylvania and the water quality there, of course, is always a question which seems to come up at any screening.  McAleer talked about the “99%” of people in Dimock who signed a petition basically stating their support for natural gas development and the “1% ” who expressed discontent with the natural gas industry.  He pointed out Yoko Ono went to Dimock and toured with the 1% of people who don’t support natural gas.  You can watch the whole question and answer session below.

At the end of the screening we noticed three new faces.  As it turned out they are local high school students.  The students originally came to watch Gasland Part II because they had already seen FrackNation but they thought Gasland Part II was too long and based more on emotion than science.  These students praised McAleer and were happy to tell him they appreciated what he was doing. Personally, I felt like letting out a big “Yahoo” after hearing that.

It’s worth noting these students are examples of a larger trend. Namely, that FrackNation has been extremely well received by the majority of people who have seen it.  The reason for that is the director does a fabulous job of showing the real stories of the people living in the areas where natural gas is being developed and he goes out of his way to show areas that hope natural gas will be developed and why they need development to occur.

The screening ended and the crowds left.  It’s safe to say another 30-40 people went home satisfied after learning the truth about natural gas development from FrackNation.  The majority of the people in audience seemed very pleased with the film and they told McAleer they would be telling their neighbors, friends, and family to watch! Can’t beat that.

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