Gas Odyssey: Clean-Burning American Energy Creating Thousands of Jobs, Untold Economic Opportunity

Francis Ford Coppola served as executive director of the Golden Globe-nominated The Odyssey in 1997. Back in 1968, Stanley Kubrick directed the Oscar award-winning 2001: A Space Odyssey. Both were decent movies. Both did decent at the box office. But the truth is, neither of these puppies can hold a candle to the recently released Gas Odyssey film pulled together by young documentarian Aaron Price.

What do we know about movies, you ask? Absolutely nothing. But here’s what we do know: Price’s story about a community rallying together to support the responsible conversion of clean-burning natural gas resources into jobs, revenue and opportunity for the future is as genuine John Wayne. And if you haven’t seen the trailer for it yet, well, you don’t know what you’re missing out on, friend.

The responsible development of the Marcellus Shale – considered to be the world’s second largest natural gas reserve in the world – is generating untold amounts of economic activity and job creation. At the same time, this safe, heavily-regulated production – enabled by advancements in horizontal drilling technologies coupled with the 60-year old energy stimulation process called hydraulic fracturing – is unlocking enormous amounts of clean-burning, American natural gas.

Price highlights this once-in-a-lifetime economic transformation that is rejuvenating and bringing hope to communities that have historically been down on their luck. Throughout the 117 minute documentary, Price captures the stories of family farmers, school administrators, small businesses owners and landowners whose lives, and lives of those who make up their communities, have been positively and directly affected by this production.

But this film doesn’t tell just one story – it tells two. See, in Pennsylvania, private landowners are permitted to produce shale gas on their land. However, in New York – just a couple miles away across the state border – the government in Albany has a de facto moratorium in place preventing the responsible development of Marcellus shale gas, and its associated economic benefits, from moving forward.

Here are just a few of the key firsthand accounts that Price captures:

Stephen Herz of Windsor NY, who’s owned a family horse for 60 years:

“Broome County is in a dire position, and quite franking, allowing responsible natural gas drill is a clear light at the end of this tunnel. … The natural gas opportunity is this community’s salvation … This opportunity will filter down through our community, creating jobs, creating revenue, and giving our citizens reason to hope and reason for a bright future here in Broome County. … If the gas industry isn’t allowed to responsibly thrive in Broome County, you might just as well place a closed sign on this community.”

James Worden, also of Windsor, says this, speaking on behalf of more 3,000 upstate New Yorkers:

“They tell me that they are losing their jobs, and other hardships they suffer.”

Julie Lewis, of the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, says this, nothing the “astounding” potential economic benefits:

“We have not seen contamination by frac fluid, but that’s what everyone keeps talking about.”

Jon Dietz, truck driver in Montrose, PA, tells Price this:

“In my opinion, there’s nothing detrimental to our area with what’s going on right now. It’s bringing jobs, it’s bringing money. And its’ improving everything. This was a dead community. Our last factory closed years ago.”

Price talks to Derek Matolka, who’s enrolled in Lackawanna College’s
natural gas technology program, and commutes from Vestal, NY:

“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do before, but I’m excited about this program and to join the gas industry following graduation.”

Broome County executive, Barbara Fiala, a tireless advocate for economic opportunity and job creation, adds this:

“Nothing would compare to what gas drilling would mean to the community,” in terms of jobs and positive economic impact.

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