Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Gasland



This new film on the use of "hydraulic fracturing" in natural gas drilling recently won the "Special Jury Prize for Documentary" at the Sundance Film Festival.

According to filmmaker Josh Fox,
...the 2005 energy bill, which was pushed through Congress by Dick Cheney, exempted the oil and natural gas industries from the Safe Drinking Water Act.

It’s hard to believe...there’s something in there called the “Halliburton Loophole,” which exempts the natural gas industry, specifically for hydraulic fracturing, this technique, this new technique that they use to extract the gas, from the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Fox says there are 596 chemicals currently injected into the ground as part of hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking".) Because specific fracking formulas are proprietary and are protected from disclosure, it is virtually impossible to identify specific sources of the pollution and the parties responsible.

See also Gasland's Facebook page:



I just watched the film Crude, which covers a similar topic, the poisonous legacy that Texaco, Chevron, PetroEcuador (and others) have left in Ecuador's Amazon Basin, which has been heavily exploited for oil. It demonstrates the (literally) slippery slope we enter upon when sensitive environments are opened up to mineral extraction operations. This is a story repeated endlessly across the globe, and is intimately connected to each of us and our prodigious waste of limited resources. Once their claims are established, global energy companies fight to protect profits, usually at the expense of indigenous peoples and the environment.



On a related topic, the concept of "Peak Oil" is thoroughly discussed in this Swiss-made 2006 film. It is tempting to dismiss this as some fringe conspiracy saga, but there are too many expert interviews to ignore. And the images of ravaged landscapes and abandoned oil fields carries greater impact than any words can deliver.

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