Appalachian Basin

Gasland Part II Leaves Landowners Out on the Streets

One of the landowners denied entrance to the Gasland Part II premiere in trendy Tribeca several days ago describes her experience. Film festival security were determined to keep out ticket holders who might ask Josh Fox questions and challenge his distortions of the facts.

I have, as a landowner and supporter of natural gas development, been following the controversy in New York State now for several years.  I have seen the documentaries, read the studies, and listened to the professional and expert opinions on natural gas.  I saw Gasland and purchased a ticket for Gasland Part II.

Two weeks ago, I woke up bright and early and traveled to New York City for the screening, a city which will never see natural gas development regardless of how much they use on a daily basis.  Having seen the aggressive behavior of anti-gas personalities on other occasions, I anticipated there could be controversy.  Nonetheless, I was certainly shocked to be treated the way I was in a city which prides itself on tolerance and the openness of people.

What happened, you ask? Well, I wasn’t allowed into the screening. 

Some familiar faces were allowed in, and some even had reserved seating in the theater.  Yoko Ono, where is your experience in engineering, hydrology, geology and chemistry? Mr. Hinchey, where is your experience in the same sciences? (Hinchey’s claim to fame in this discussion is being a co-author of the FRAC Act, one of Josh Fox’s pet projects — an ironic development given Fox’s decrying of lobbying and influence in the movie.) Yoko Ono, Maurice Hinchey (my ex-Congressman), HBO Producers, and Fox’s whole family, just to name a few, were all allowed to watch the film they traveled to see and had paid for.  Why wasn’t I?


I have several letters from Mr. Hinchey that show me he has very little knowledge of the actual process of hydraulic fracturing, which seems to be the case with all these folks. Sadly, that even includes our own governor, who literally said that a child could fall “into a well casing.”  This sort of patently absurd comment reveals the price of listening to Hollywood and folks such as Yoko, Josh, Susan Sarandon, Alec Baldwin and all the rest.  They have, apparently, undue influence over our decision-makers — even as our governor insists that his review is based 100 percent on “the science.” (Note to Governor Cuomo: Hollywood activism is not science.)

As you can probably tell, we are frustrated and fed up.  We traveled to the city, paid for tickets, and we wanted to see the show.  We were told we did not “behave properly” and we would not be let into the theater.  Behave properly?  Are you kidding me?! To be clear, we were not disorderly. Yes, we asked questions — but it was outside of the theater.  If they feel we spoke too loudly, they need to keep in mind there is a lot of traffic (similar to what they claim will happen with natural gas) and hundreds of people from all over the country walking the busy sidewalks. So was this really about the volume of our voices, or the content of what we were asking?

Mr. Fox likes to characterize himself as a victim of “big gas and oil” and also of corporations in general. This is, of course, highly hypocritical for someone who took $750,000 from HBO to produce Gasland Part II, which is nothing but a rehash of the original.  He uses the Sierra Club, several Hollywood faces, and the media to spread all the misinformation he can jam pack into a two hour mockumentary. That’s a lot of Big Green (pun definitely intended).  Does he think if he spreads the misinformation often enough it will become the truth?  It is pure propaganda with a special interest NIMBY agenda. It’s nothing more than unadulterated and unfiltered fear mongering.

Many years ago I spoke at an Environmental Protection Agency hearing and I said, “As soon somebody falls under the spell of fear, his ability to reason is impaired.” This is what we are dealing with: a cult spreading fear and misinformation in order to manipulate the public discussion.

We are the real grassroots people. We are not shills, and we’re frankly sick of being categorically denigrated like that. We are fighting for our constitutional property rights. We are not Hollywood. We listen to the experts, the professionals, and the experienced, and we don’t care what The Hulk has to say — either in his movies or to gullible reporters.

Do Mr. Hinchey, Mr. Fox, or Yoko Ono think we need them to tell us how to live our lives, or what we can and cannot do with our property?  We do not need the 1% to tell us anything, let alone speak out of their professions.  We are still capable of thinking for ourselves. In our part of the world, we cut our own grass and buy our own groceries.

The 1% want the world to accept that they know what is best for us.  We do not need their help, we just want our rights to be honored.  We are not here to destroy the Earth, either; we, too, recognize there is only one Earth to live on. We respect our land and have taken care of it for generations.  We also respect other opinions, something I do not see from the natural gas opposition, which seems determined force its ideology on every landowner, with nothing but Gasland falsehoods as “evidence.”


One of the security guards at Tribeca told me it was good that they did not let us in because of the way we acted.  Shocked, I asked him, “Why don’t you like to know the truth?”  Controversy and speaking truth to power are things one would expect to be honored at at a film festival, but apparently not when you’re challenging political correctness or the godfather of the environmental special interests allied against natural gas development.

I remember a song that asked us to “imagine” no religion, where there would be “nothing to kill and die for.” But Yoko Ono, who was married to the man who made those lyrics famous, does exactly the opposite.  She has adopted a religion of extreme environmentalism, and it is intolerant one that is killing upstate New York.

I also remember the song “give peace a chance.”  Another one of the security guards told me we had interrupted the red carpet event, as if we were serfs appearing before the king and didn’t know how to behave.  As far as I know, this is still America.  It’s not a kingdom and we still can ask for the truth, red carpet or not.  However, Monday, I got a call from a reporter who interviewed us after we were denied entrance.  She told me she got arrested and plans to tell her story as well.  What will be next?

I hope the Tribeca film festival and its founder, Robert De Niro, find it in their hearts to apologize. I certainly won’t hold my breath, though, after the way we were treated.  But don’t expect me to back down, either, just because a few thugs defending the extremist anti-energy coalition tried to muzzle me.



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