Appalachian Basin

Gasland Part II – Landowners and Truth Denied

Gasland Part II, like the Return of Jaws and the Amityville Curse, is a failed attempt at recreating an original film to continue momentum.  For those opposing natural gas it must be frustrating to find the film is a retread of the same claims that caused its predecessor to steadily leach credibility to the point where it lost relevance.  

Gasland Part II premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last night.  I was there with Steve Everley of our Energy In Depth team and what an anti-climatic event it turned out to be.  From a factual perspective, the movie itself was, as we predicted, a complete dud.  Josh Fox did prove one thing, though, and that was his absolute intolerance for any views other than his own and his lack of concern for anyone but his own clique of supporters.

The movie was in many ways simply a rehash of Gasland which had zero credibility among anyone with even passing knowledge of the oil and natural gas industry.  Call it “Gasland Too,” as Steve suggests.  Moreover, Josh Fox and his supporters appear to have refused to let ticket-carrying landowners from upstate New York enter the movie.  The reason you ask?  Will it appears it was simply because they didn’t share his view. The truth, in other words, got the short end of the stick with Gasland Part II.

Gasland Part II almost has to be viewed as a disappointment by it supporters as there was nothing in the film that even remotely resembled new information.  Instead, the film was a wordy rehash of the very same claims that many experts – including studies funded by the Sierra Club – have debunked on many occasions.  What was on stark display, however, was Fox’s refusal to tolerate others’ opinions, as some of our friends were denied entrance to the screening.  It’s worth noting these landowners had to get up very early (4:30 AM in one case) to make the long trip to the Tribeca section of Manhattan to see the movie.

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 7.11.38 AMVictor Furman (pictured at right), Inge Grafe-Kieklak and Sherry Hart were all denied entrance to the screening after having purchased tickets and made the long trek to New York City.  Why?  Because they dared to ask Josh Fox questions before he entered the theater, though the Tribeca Film Festival is trying, after the fact, to suggest there simply wasn’t room (there was – I was there).

Challenging the political correct template doesn’t win you many friends in trendy Tribeca, after all, and certainly not with Josh Fox, who we suspect arrived late to avoid debate with Phelim McAleer of FrackNation, who had already been denied entrance.

If this sounds as if Josh Fox is really one scared rabbit, well, so be it.  It sure looked that way from our perspective.  Here’s what our landowner friends had to say about being excluded:

What scares Josh Fox?  Well, it’s not hard to understand once you’ve seen Gasland Part II.   It seems he is scared of being exposed.  As one example, Fox revisits Dimock, using the Sautner’s now infamous brown jug as a prop to keep that narrative alive despite the fact that U.S. EPA announced the Sautner’s water is safe after conducting extensive testing.  Fox, of course, is angry his scheme to manipulate the EPA came to nothing so he had to think of some reason – any reason – to save face regarding Dimock.

So, in that vein, he talks about the ill-conceived Dimock-Montrose water line nearly all residents opposed and that gave birth to Dimock Proud. Of course in Fox’s view of reality this was not a grassroots uprising of residents objecting to an ill-advised project but, instead, was all a big setup by nameless corporate interests. Convenient isn’t it?  And, so reflective of the director’s style.  Say anything, it matters not if the facts exist to back it up.

Well, luckily for those who value the truth, Phelim McAleer made the final entry in the Dimock ledger and the Sautner family has moved to another property with a gas lease in New York.  It seems that matters not to Josh who is still living in a make-believe world of yesteryear (seen below filming Yoko Ono’s tour of a Dimock junkyard in an attempt to prove there is still something wrong with Dimock’s water).

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Fox also tries to correct the Gasland record here and there, admitting the Milanville property was always his fathers’ and never his, for example.  This was interjected amidst all sorts of disconnected material with little or no detail backing up anything.  This included imagery from the BP off-shore oil spill near the beginning of the movie that was simply inexplicable, plus footage of a woman making a bizarre claim of having hydraulic fracturing fluid in her lungs and an equally ludicrous comparison by Fox of his fingerprint with tree rings.

Then there was the recycling of claims from Parker County, Texas and Pavillion, Wyoming that have turned out to be total embarrassments for EPA and the natural gas opposition.  There were even more flaming faucets, after everything that has been written to illustrate the absurdity of claims that hydraulic fracturing has anything to do with this natural phenomena.

Was this the best Josh Fox could do?  Apparently so.  It was a totally disjointed presentation, with every significant allegation having already been addressed in great detail by Energy In Depth and other independent experts.  Adding to the surreal nature of the film was the fact it began with a positive statement about natural gas by President Obama.

Fox is apparently now at a point where everyone is his enemy, from industry, to landowners who question his assertions, to major environmental organizations who don’t share his tactics, to even the President of the United States who sees value in natural gas as an energy source.  It all suggests a man who knows he’s on the losing side and is striking out at any and all who don’t accept the purist view, the one that gave him his 15 minutes of fame, which is now slowly slipping away.

No wonder Fox is scared.  The game is up.  Gasland Part II isn’t a sequel.  It’s the death rattle of a burnt out movie going up in flames.  It’s Gasland Too, after all.


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