Appalachian Basin

FrackNation Targeted By Activists Before It Even Releases

The independent documentary, FrackNation, is set to be released to the public on January 22, but with only one private showing under its belt, has already received threats from anti natural gas activists.

It’s kind of funny when you think about it.

A documentary is set to be released by three journalists who have sought to learn the truth about natural gas development and how affected residents really feel about it. They want to report on the process of development, and have made their film with zero monetary help from either the industry they were investigating or organizations opposed to it (as was the case with Gasland, which has received major funding from the Park Foundation). Instead, they’ve made the film, FrackNation, by seeking backing directly from the public through a donation site called KickStarter. They’ve received donations from over 3,300 individuals across the world who wanted an unbiased look at this controversial topic.

Now, along come activists challenging even the promotion of the film, one doing no more than what they claim Josh Fox was doing with Gasland?  They have pressed You Tube to remove even the movie trailer from its site, using the strategy so often employed by other side, which is to not just articulate disagreements with your opponents, but to complete silence them before they’ve even seen the movie itself.  Why not wait for the film to be released?  Why the double standard?  Why not simply debate the issues, fact for fact?  Why are these activists challenging YouTube to remove a trailer when they could be making arguments?  Is it that they lack compelling arguments, or are they trying to undercut the movie before they’ve even seen it?  Now, those are some interesting questions.

SautnerGate Resurfaces

It all goes back to something we deemed SautnerGate a few months ago, where we took a video put up by activist Lisa Barr and offered a transcript of the key parts. The video showed the EPA giving water test results to a family formerly of Dimock, the Sautners.  Julie and Craig Sautner, who had been somewhat permanent fixtures in the public eye when it came to the Dimock debate, known usually as “the brown juggers,” were told their water passed all tests.  The video captured their reaction.  Shockingly–well maybe not so shockingly given the individuals involved–instead of being elated at having yet another government agency say their water was fine, they threw an all out temper tantrum.  Lisa Barr, thinking it would help the Sautner case, put it out on the internet for the world to see, making it publicly available.

The producers of FrackNation, quickly realized this display summed up the entire Dimock debate in one 30+ minute video, parts of which which they chose to use in their first trailer for their film.

We all have free speech…until you don’t agree with me.

Now, these two individuals who put themselves in the public eye over and over again to fuel an agenda, aren’t so keen on being in the spotlight anymore and are demanding the producers remove the trailer. YouTube has even threatened to comply as you can read about in this article.

One of the producers, Phelim McAleer, had this to say about the situation:

I decided to make ‘FrackNation’ documentary because Josh Fox – the director of the anti-fracking documentary ‘GasLand’ forced YouTube to remove one of my previous films challenging his inaccurate claims about ‘burning water.’ It seems that anti-fracking activists don’t want debate or dissent – they want to silence criticism and questions.

And, that’s exactly what’s been occurring. We reported previously on a debate that’s been ongoing regarding who is allowed to comment on various websites and Facebook pages.  There are those, such as Gasland’s site, that won’t allow differing opinions.  Then there was ShaleShock Media’s website, which resorted to outright deceit by completely substituting their own words for comments submitted by our own Joe Massaro, giving an entirely false statement of what he said.

We’ve also been criticized, of course, for Truthland because it showed existing water problems and offered a different opinion than Gasland.  And, now, the industry is being criticized by activists for using the flop of a movie, Promised Land, as a means to introduce real facts into the debate through a Marcellus Shale Coalition advertisement played before the movie, and a website and Facebook page, The Real Promised Land. 

It shouldn’t go unnoticed the Facebook page for The Real Promised Land, has surpassed the number of fans of the movie showing the public wants to have a meaningful discourse on natural gas development that goes beyond the shrill accusations of naturalo gas opponents.

It’s no surprise then that a film shedding light on the true impacts of natural gas development in the United States, the Marcellus Shale, and yes, in Dimock, would meet opposition from those same activists. Here’s what one well-know activist, Bill Huston, said on FrackNation’s Facebook page:

I believe in free speech, but what you are doing is INDUSTRIAL HARASSMENT. HARASMENT IS NOT PROTECTED SPEECH.

Industrial harassment?  What’s that?  Well, apparently, it’s anybody who dares to disagree with natural gas opponents raising their voices.

This film is not associated with the natural gas industry.  While we are obviously fans of the message and anxious to promote it for this reason, no gas industry money was used to produce it and no one from the industry had any role in crafting that message.  We were, in fact, as surprised as anyone at some of what was in it, especially the Carol Collier and Julie Sautner scenes.

More to the point, how is that two individuals who have made a public spectacle of themselves for years, suddenly don’t want their image displayed beyond the internet…where anyone can already see it.  Isn’t it strange this is what’s happening after they’ve relocated to another gas rich area in New York complete with another natural gas lease?  How many videos does Bill Huston have of them speaking on his blog and YouTube channel?  Google “Craig Sautner” and you get 6,290 hits, many of them videos, yet he’s turned camera shy?  Explain that one, please.  How is it a video put out for public consumption by their friends to help them make their case is not fair game for others to use in criticizing them?

I haven’t seen FrackNation yet, but I’d like to do so. I understand Julie Sautner is filmed in the movie threatening to sic the NRDC on FrackNation producer Phelim McAleer while waving her gun permit.  Can’t miss that.  I also plan to go to see Promised Land, as my co-workers have done, because you can’t really comment on something you haven’t seen and I like to form my own opinions. If you feel the same way, show some support and ask YouTube to leave the trailer up and allow any future ones to be shown. Let’s have some real discourse on this topic.

  • Bill Ferullo
    Posted at 8:52 pm, January 10, 2013 Reply

    Just goes to show the power of anti gassers !!

    • timkay
      Posted at 10:28 pm, January 10, 2013 Reply

      You mean the lengths you will go to silence the opposition ! What is their to be afraid of? The truth is the truth and no one can change it, so lets see the documentary and judge for ourselves, but to try and silence it before you have seen it, says alot about the anti movement and definetly will place alot of mistrust in the publics eyes . The anti had been hiding alot of things when it came to dimock, fracknation showing the balance of the story has the opposition up in arms trying to stop them. Well alot of us already knew that the anti had been hiding the whole story in Dimock, but for the non residence of this county they might have been fooled at least for a little while…Fracknation is a documentary, I think all need to actually seeing it before they go judging it, but if this is like anything else the anti do, they threw the crap in the fan and see whats sticks, truth and facts have never been important, its always been guilty before proven innocent, even if they are wrong.

  • Audrey Gozdiskowski
    Posted at 9:26 pm, January 10, 2013 Reply

    To speak of free speech when many are banned from sharing any scientific information on your fake PL page or EID is ironic. To compare your harrassment of the Sautners’ in the way the video clip was used in the movie trailer to that of telling their story of the many negative impacts of fracking is not the same. The fact that Phelim lied about filming the Sautners to stop fracking in Ireland and EID supports it is no surprise.

    I and others have our own personal landman stories that makes Promised Land look like a fairy tale. With recent events in Susquehanna County Promised Land was more of a nonfiction than one would think!

    • Tom Shepstone
      Posted at 7:25 am, January 11, 2013 Reply

      The Sautners have told their own story, Audrey. You just don’t like seeing the ugly side of it.

  • Un Fracked Farmer
    Posted at 9:31 pm, January 10, 2013 Reply

    Dont go see Promise Land. Donate the 10 dollars to Sandy Victims instead The movie sucks and is highly exaggerated

  • NY4GAS
    Posted at 10:13 pm, January 10, 2013 Reply

    please send a mass email out to all landowner coalition members so we can have a simple form letter & click type of submission to tell youtube that the sautners are absolutely well known “characters” in the anti-gas movement.


  • fred jones
    Posted at 7:24 am, January 11, 2013 Reply

    Any film pandering to a certain crowd will always get a good review, from that crowd. I’m sure the anti-crowd as a whole, loved Gas Land and support Promised Land, regardless of any Hollywood accolades or awards, as Fox’s film garnished and Promised Land probably will not. Same goes with pro-gas films…..Truth Land and now Frack Nation. There really is some “truth” in all these films and there lies the divide, in our “opinions” and our country. I know…EID has debunked each and every anti-gas film, in extravagant detail, but I always consider any source of “debunking” and there are many cases of the debunk-er, getting debunked, so any truth gets muddied up. These films are a perfect example of the mind set Americans have on HVHF. To me, as it has always been, if folks read my posts, the more we learn from both camps, the more questions seem to arise. And Like I have always said, time, usually answers these questions. I have yet to see a movie that actually encompasses the full facts as we have them today(EID says tomato, the anti’s say tomatto ) on this subject and the industry. The only film (outside of the HVHF controversy I can think of) would have to be Sergio Leone’s “The Good, the Bad and The Ugly” Now…..there’s a flick I’d watch two or three times, if it were about HVHF. I’m not holding my breath on that one though.


  • Josh F
    Posted at 11:17 am, January 12, 2013 Reply

    NYT talks about “Frack Nation” A documentary to be seen on January 22, on AXS TV 9:am EST.

  • Economic Status
    Posted at 11:44 am, January 12, 2013 Reply

    Every comment (on paper) without an official and valid stamp should be ignored,
    because it is not a mail as usually required in official matters or by the DEC.

    Dear environmental activists, these dubious methods are not better than spam in your e-mails, maybe illegal as well.

  • Bill
    Posted at 2:18 pm, January 12, 2013 Reply

    Wow… I guess we’d better watch for Iranians coming over to steal PA water with ‘weapons grade’ uranium in it! Silly me, I thought, as most do, that it takes many, many stages of centrifuges to extract U235 (weapons grade) from U238 and other isotopes. Iranians could saved a bundle by not buying them. And the Sautners not only have ZERO credibility for foolishness like this claim, they long ago made the choice to be public figures when they went on tour as the brown juggers. They seemed happy to bask in the limelight of fame then.. What’s the saying? Karma is a b….?

  • Lisa Barr
    Posted at 6:10 am, January 16, 2013 Reply

    Nicole–I don’t know how you sleep. I did not post ‘key parts’ of the interaction with the EPA at the Sautners’ home, I was rolling when I walked in and until I left and ALL of it is up. You were not allowed to cherry pick what you and your corporate masters wanted to and I alerted you about that. It is available for ALL to see–including how the EPA chose to raise detect levels whenever there was a problem. And that would make any homeowner, any parent angry. If people want to see what TRULY happened at the Sauters home, as opposed to your hackneyed, cherry-picked version, it’s there in its entirety.
    It has editorial comment that helps people view it in context–of what is actually said–unlike the fiction you produced with my work (without my permission).
    Now–here’s a little journalism history for you–a ‘gate’ is a term journalists apply to a true scandal committed by a guilty party–such as watergate, iran-contra gate, etc.. You work for a company (companies) that are failing to pay contractors who are thus putting liens upon their clients’ (leaseholders) properties, according to Reuters.
    Only true sociopaths or worse would attack the Sautners as you folks have. Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress. Look it up. I think the Sautners, public figures as they may be, would have a great case against the likes of EID Marcellus, Dimock Proud and the lot of you.

    • Victor Furman
      Posted at 10:44 am, January 16, 2013 Reply

      The Saunters ARE THE VICTIMS…. Like I told them 4 years ago. “When NYRAD is done with you you will be tossed aside like yesterdays garbage” NYRAD is and they did…. They are also victims of the media and politicians…. “BUT VICTIMS” is what they chose to be and as they perpetrated the lie they also held the position as victimizer. They deserve to remain in the spotlight until this debate runs it’s course (karma) and if anyone should be sued it’s those who knowingly lied or worked from a lie to push their opinion and affect the lively hood of thousands.

  • Steve
    Posted at 11:59 am, January 19, 2013 Reply

    In regards to the recently released “Promised Land,” I found it interesting that the original concept of the movie was to be about the allegedly nefarious practices of companies that acquire sites for windmills to generate electricity, not gas drilling. The story line was altered when Mr. Damon and the other principals of the movie’s production thought that a fictional story about drilling for gas would generate more interest, and ticket sales. The people who brought Promised Land to the big screen and ultimately TV sets and computer screens later as DVD’s and other media certainly have the right to state their point of view. But I don’t think their rather one sided presentation of reality is going to do the anti-drillers much real good in the long run. Yoko Ono, Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo etc. can all grandstand as much as they want, but they aren’t changing the fact that America’s natural gas and oil industry is now extremely dependent on hydraulic fraturing and horizontal drilling.

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