Would you poison the planet for $100,000?
According to a recent article, filmmaker Josh Fox faced this question when he received a $100,000 offer in exchange for the natural gas drilling rights to his property in the Delaware River Basin. Instead of taking the money and keeping quiet, he decided to use his talents to make a film that exposes the harsh reality of America’s natural gas drilling campaign. Touring 24 states across the country, Fox, in his Sundance award-winning documentary, GASLAND, reveals some horrific truths about how the natural gas industry is poisoning our water and air, causing chronic illnesses in residents near drilling areas, and contributing to a crisis that could affect millions more, long-term. What does this crisis look like in real life? Here’s what’s happening in several major cities:
- In Dimock, Pennsylvania, close to the New York City watershed, animals began losing their hair after the drilling started, most likely from the toxic water they ingested.
- In DISH, Texas, emissions from natural gas wells and pipelines measure way above the public health standard for cancer-causing benzene and the neurotoxin carbon disulfide. In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the emissions are greater than the air pollution caused by all the cars and trucks combined.
- In Wyoming, a water well erupted with a geyser of natural gas for three days.
If that’s not enough to make you think twice, watch this video:
Flammable tap water is not the most disturbing of Fox’s findings, however. The drilling process, called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which leads to all of this contamination, was exempted in 2005 by the Bush-Cheney Energy Policy Act from United States environmental regulations, including the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Air Act. What’s more, the fight has now moved to Congress, where lobbyists are trying to prevent legislation that would reverse the exemption, making chemicals used in the process subject to the Safe Drinking Water Act, once again.
I repeat: lobbyists are trying to PREVENT legislation that would reverse the exemption…
Pardon me while I try to make sense of this. Instead of preventing accidents like the recent BP oil spill, our very own leaders are ignoring the problem while we scramble to find ways to clean up the mess? – (i.e. Kevin Costner’s Oil Spill Machines; oil booms and mats made of pantyhose and hair)
Innocents like Fox, who accept a monetary offer in exchange for drilling rights must sign non-disclosure forms forcing them to keep quiet about their experience with natural gas drilling and preventing them from bringing any lawsuits. Perhaps this is the reason why Fox refused the $100,000 offer. After all, why would anyone want to put a price tag on his health and risk death in the process? Besides, since the film won the Documentary Special Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, I’m sure Fox has gained a worthier source of income.
The film makes its debut on Monday, June 21, at 9 p.m. ET/PT., exclusively on HBO. Watch it. Tell your friends. And please do us all a favor, and share this post.
In the meantime, check out our list of some of our other favorite must-watch water movies.