Pennsylvania’s secretary of the environment says “Gasland” – an award-winning HBO documentary about the natural gas industry in which he appears – is “fundamentally dishonest” and “a deliberately false presentation for dramatic effect.”
John Hanger, the state official who was the former head of the environmental group Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future, called filmmaker Josh Fox “a propagandist,” pointing out that the film inaccurately depicted him as a tool of the natural gas industry despite the fact that he fought for stricter regulations of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” a technique used to free natural gas trapped in rock formations.
“There are real problems in this industry,” Hanger told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “But this movie certainly contributes to more public misunderstanding.”
Fox’s documentary, which won a Sundance Film Festival award, depicts numerous environmental disasters he claims are caused by fracking, including water taps bursting into flames.
But industry experts say that after 60 years of hydraulic fracturing in one million wells, there are no proven cases of ground water contamination from the process.
The American Petroleum Institute also points out that in Colorado, where the flaming faucets were filmed, “the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission devoted significant staff and financial resources to thoroughly investigate these cases, and specifically excluded natural gas drilling as a cause of flammable water in each. The commission determined that, in reality, the source was naturally occurring methane.”
So it seems that “Gasland” is full of gas – just the wrong kind.