Even though Gasland was aired on HBO in 2011, a close look at the film immediately showed that there were some glaring inaccuracies contained within the content. As Josh Fox, the creator of the film, one stated in an interview, art is more important to him that politics. His view of art is that it is full of contradictions. That is certainly true with this documentary, so in many ways it may be more accurate to call it “art” and not “fact.”
There Are Clear Lies Stated Within the Film
One of the biggest points of emphasis in Gasland is the statement that natural gas producers are exempt from the Clean Water Act and other environmental acts that have been passed through Congress and signed by the President. This simply isn’t true because each natural gas and oil company is completely covered by these environmental laws.
Fox asserts that it was Dick Cheney who fought for these laws and their modifications to allow for the natural gas and oil companies to become exempt from them. The law in question, which is the Energy Policy Act of 2005, passed with a 74% affirmative vote in Congress. It was even directly supported by the top Democrat on the energy committee.
Was Fracking Allowed By These Environmental Laws?
In a word – no. Hydraulic fracking has never been regulated under the environmental laws that Gasland brings up in the 60 years this technology has been around. It is impossible for laws to be cleared away and safety restrictions rescinded when they never existed in the first place. Fox asserts that clearing away these regulations has caused the largest drilling campaign for energy sources in all of history, but there were actually more natural gas well in 1982 than there are today. There were also double the amount of petroleum wells drilled and tested in 1982 than what is going on today.
One of the most interesting facts that Fox supports, however, is that 34 states now have hydraulic fracking opportunities going on within their borders. This statement, on the surface, is absolutely true. What makes this statistic interesting, however, is that 7 states out of the 34, when all of their fracking activities are combined, account for just 0.1% of the total activity in the United States.
How Dangerous Is Fracking?
Fox asserts that fracking means blasting nearly 600 chemicals into the ground to extract energy. For the normal hydraulic fracking solution, only 0.5% of it isn’t water or sand. Out of that remaining percentage, most of the items that are used are chemicals that the average household uses to keep their home clean. One of the most common ingredients in fracking that isn’t water or sand is actually guar gum. You’ll find that in your ice cream.
A documentary only fits this movie genre if it is willing to put out all of the facts. Unfortunately with Gasland, much of the information is opinion-based instead of fact-based. As Fox put it himself, however, that’s what art is all about.