The Gasland movie: a fracking shame – director pulls video to hide inconvenient truths

From “Not Evil, Just Wrong”: Gasland director hides full facts

Written by Phelim McAleer


Josh Fox has made a documentary that makes some pretty alarming claims about gas drilling across the US. But as is often the case when these claims are examined they do not stand up to scrutiny.

Fox’ documentary Gasland, claims that fracking, a way of drilling for natural gas, has polluted water and endangered lives. One of the most alarming scenes is when he lights water that residents claim has been polluted by fracking. It is dramatic and at first glance seems like a slam dunk. I mean they can light their water – it is polluted and there is gas drilling nearby. It must be responsible.

But then a little digging reveals a few inconvenient facts. A 1976 study by the Colorado Division of Water found that this area was plagued with gas in the water problems back then. And it was naturally occurring.

As the report stated there was “troublesome amounts of methane” in the water decades before fracking began. It seems that in geographical areas gas has always been in the water.

But Josh Fox knew this and chose not to put it in Gasland.

I asked him about this omission at a recent screening at Northwestern University in Chicago.

He said he had not included these facts that questioned his alarmism because “they were not relevant.” He also dropped the bombshell that I had not been aware of that there were media reports of people lighting their water as far back as 1936. Again this was not included in Gasland because it was not relevant.

Perhaps Josh you should include all the evidence and let people figure out what is relevant and what is not.


Note from Anthony: The Gasland director apparently didn’t like this video being used to criticize him (which falls under fair use) and he has pulled it from YouTube claiming a copyright violation. Fortunately, there are other options besides YouTube to show Phelim McAleer’s video:

And as way of verification of the Gasland’s claim of fracking causing methane in groundwater was based on a fabricated claim or not, I went looking for the 1976 report that McAleer cited. I didn’t find it, but I did find another report from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) which was equally damning:

click for article


Additionally, on May 13th, the New York Times reported:

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” got a clean bill of health this week in the first scientific look at the safety of the oil and production practice.

So in light of all this, perhaps this description of Gasland’s director Josh Fox’ situation would be apt:

Liar, liar, tap water on fire!

Lest anyone think that natural gas right at the surface is a problem unique to the United States, I offer this video of the “Door to Hell” in Turkmenistan.

Also, back in 2009, before the green movement went fracking crazy, Treehugger reported this story about methane in a lake that could be ignited in a matter of fact sort of way.

Why Yes, Methane Bubbling Up From a Frozen Lake Can Be Lit on Fire

Here’s the video:

No mention of fracking or drilling nearby.

Even research scientists get a kick out of naturally occurring biogenic methane:



newest oldest most voted
Notify of

It was common knowledge in the area that often water will ignite ….because of shallow coal seams with associated methane. Cabot’s mistake was that they did not test the surrounding water wells before they drilled their Marcellus wells, so that they had a baseline upon which to compare gas contents. Rather than fight, they agreeds to settle. Now oil companies are testing all water wells with 1/2 mile of any existing new wells so that the baseline will be established, they tey can compare before and after frac.


If you run across any videos you consider important please download and store. Videos are disappearing at the speed of light off the net especially you tube. 25+ channels have been deleted that I subscribed to for a long time.


So people, tap water has always been lighting up and they chose to publicise it now because they are Green Communists?


I we had gas in our water the water company would be charging more. A lot more.

I grew up in Ohio, and all the neighborhood boys knew where the natural gas seeps were. We would throw a match into one, and it would ignite and burn for several hours, sometimes for a few days. Methane has always been in the water in various places.
Frakking is done so far below the water table and below impervious rock and salt deposits that this just has to be another attempt to alarm the public with pseudo-science. I would like to see them go where frakking is taking place right now, and ignite their tap water. <—[there’s an empirical test for the hypothesis, no?]

Doug in Seattle

Biogenic vs. thermogenic, and Fox himself admits it. Well, that alone pretty much proves that Fox’s claims are false. I hope the gas company sues the liar.

Hank Hancock

Since when were facts ever relevant in the AGW movement?

Those of us who lived in rural Alberta remember a similar phenomena…
Methane gas occurs naturally in groundwater aquifers in most geological sedimentary basins worldwide, including here in Alberta. Methane gas exists in a dissolved state in groundwater underground and will “bubble out” when pumped to the surface. For those on private water well supplies, spurting taps is a common result of this phenomenon. Methane gas can pose an explosion or asphyxiation hazard if allowed to build up in a confined space, so well owners are strongly encouraged to vent their water supply systems when gas is present.
This indicator is an important way to determine if groundwater is being affected by coalbed methane and other oil and gas activity.
Coalbed methane (also known as CBM) is a relatively new natural gas energy source in Alberta. Albertans have expressed concerns that methane gas could migrate from CBM wells to nearby aquifers and water well supplies.
Alberta Environment oversees a network of over 250 groundwater monitoring wells spread across the province. A monitoring program was initiated in 2006 to better understand the quality of groundwater in Alberta. The monitoring wells are tested for a variety of water quality parameters, including methane gas. A total of 126 wells have been accessed for gas sampling to date. Wells will be sampled every few years to monitor long-term trends.

Roger Carr

The overland drovers in Australia would water their cattle and horses at various bores across the inland cattle country then, if it was after nightfall, ignite the “water” so they had light to wash their clothing and perform other chores around the camp under the light of the burning gas.
A wet bag was then used to “switch” off the light so they could get to sleep. Dad often told of this when reminiscing about his days on the stock routes back in the 1920s and ’30s.


I anticipate an Academy Award….

How odd. If I found out there was methane in my tap water my first reaction would be to tear who ever runs the water treatment plant a new one. Wouldn’t even occur to me to get excited about where the methane was coming from until the question of how the **ll that get’s past safety and quality inspections was answered.
But since it sounds like this has been a known problem for a long time, perhaps someone decided methane in tap water isn’t a health hazard below certain levels? If so, one would think that the water treatment plant(s) in the area would have records of the testing they’ve done over the years which ought to include what goes into as well as what comes out of their plants. If they don’t have those records…well there ought to be a lot of trouble over that. If they do…. then comparing before frakking and after frakking ought to be frakking simple and the frakkers should stop pointing their frakking fingers and making frakking claims and just compare the frakking before with the frakking after to see what frakking actualy frakking does. Can it be any frakking simpler?
REPLY: This is well water, from onsite. – Anthony

Mr. Watts, this naturally burning gas pit is not in Uzbekistan, it’s in Turkmenistan, two and a half hours of driving into the desert from the capital, Ashkhabad. In the daytime, under strong sunlight, it doesn’t look that impressive, though it is very hot at the edge, and there is a danger of suffocation downwind from the pit.
REPLY: Thanks, my mistakestan. Uzbekistan was cited in the YouTube video description. Fixed – Anthony

Cassie King

Love the bit at the end of the cross examination by Phelim where Fox clearly knows the game is up, eyes move quickly left to right and back, a clear micro expression sign of the subjects guilt, the realisation that the game is up and in an interrogation setting the sign that the suspect is ready to spill the beans. Well done to Phelim McAleer, he is fast becoming the CAGW/greenshirt cults kryptonite.

Rattus Norvegicus

From the same article you quote:

Jackson and his fellow researchers at Duke do not completely exonerate fracturing from problems, either. He said more research is needed into whether the intense pressure used to crack open shales, much higher than in conventional drilling, might be the cause of those leaky pipes allowing methane into well water.

This is happening, and it is impossible to deny it. Have you watched “Gasland”? People who have never had problems with their wells are finding huge problems once fracking is started in their neighborhoods (often of their property because of split estates where they only own the surface rights, a huge problem here in the west). Natural gas drilling companies have settled by providing people affected by these problems with trucked in water supplies. There is ample evidence that the drilling/facking process is causing problems.
REPLY: See the first comment in this thread. Claims are one thing, baselines are another. Now that they know to establish baselines ahead of time, we’ll see if the issue is real or just overactive imaginations looking to score a tort. My take is this: if the problem was so real, so bad, why did Josh Fox have to resort to a lie of omission to make his movie prove the point he wanted? – Anthony

REPLY: This is well water, from onsite. – Anthony
Sorry, missed that. On the other hand… well water is supposed to be checked regularly too. Its been a very long time since people just drilled a well and drank whatever came out of it. In most jurisdictions there would be mandatory annual testing (if not more often) and anyone with a drinking water well on their property with any sense in their head would have it tested voluntarily from time to time. I’ll accept that perhaps some juridictions might not have mandatory testing, and I’ll even accept that not all people with a well on their property have enough common sense to have it tested. But ALL of them? SOMEONE must have done testing from time to time and the records ought to be available.
Not to mention that if MY well water could be lit on fire, the FIRST thing I’d be doing is finding out where to send the water to see what the frakk is in it.

SOMEONE must have done testing from time to time and the records ought to be available.>>>
Let me take that a step further. Most well water had a lot of minerals in it. Makes for bad tasting water, maybe even a smelly bath, and clothes don’t wash clean…so putting in water softeners, iron eaters, and other on site water treatment systems is a decent sized business opportunity anywhere that on site wells are common. And THOSE companies test before and after as a matter of course, they’d have no way of dedending themselves against false accusation if they didn’t. and I’d bet they keep those records for a very long time.

Pete H

Maybe its just my childish humour but……

Rattus Norvegicus

Anthony, would the homeowner have been alarmed if this this was a common occurrence prior to the fracking? And there is ample evidence in the area of the Marcellus shale which shows similar problems.
Also, didn’t you try to pull something like this for a youtube video which made you look bad?


Where I am in the midwest US, methane is not part of the very long list of substances tested in water from a new well, or in follow up testing, or in private wells for that matter. Routine testing would not detect methane, it isn’t part of the routine series.

Rattus Norvegicus

The Marcellus shale problems were also highlighted in Gasland.
It is also worth pointing out the problems with “coal bed methane” which is a popular source for natural gas here in eastern Montana. The water pollution, via the salty water which is an effulent from these wells is causing huge problems in the eastern part of my state, and this is not nearly as bad as the problems associated with fracking. Your assertion that fracking (as a complete process) got a clean bill of health is silly as shown in the quote I made above. There are real problems with the method, and the fact that the industry got a free pass on water quality requirements (exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act in 2004) shows that the industry *knows* there are problems.
REPLY: It’s not my assertion, nor is it “silly”. It is the lead paragraph from the story in the NYT. Sorry if you don’t like it but it stands as is from the NYT article. Complain to them – Anthony


davidmhoffer says:
June 4, 2011 at 9:48 pm
I would imagine that the owners of the property also have records, since they paid for the well & testing.

Mac the Knife

Ahem….. what does this ‘methane water’ taste like????
On a more serious note, could the water supply pipe be routed to an open top tank that has a low pressure bladder sealed to it, say one that could expand to 300 cu ft at 0.5 psi pressure or so? Me thinks I could run my stove top or the water heater off of such a methane/natural gas source….. That should keep the taps from audible flatulence and every time I took a shower, washed clothes or the truck, or watered the garden, I’d be collecting more ‘natural gas’ for the breakfast bacon and eggs fry up! Now THAT would be sweet!
I’d need a float type shut off switch in the main water tank to shut off the pump in the well, when the low pressure main water tank was full. Not having to pump the main tank to 45 – 60 psi should make the expensive and harder to replace in-well pump last a lot longer. I’d need a second smaller above ground pump to take water from the low pressure tank and pump it to 45-60 psi for the house line pressure. The weight of the bladder would be designed to maintain about 0.5 psi pressure on the methane gas as it is withdrawn for cooking and the bladder collapses, eliminating any specialty pump there. Hmmmm…. I think this could work!


Poor sound but I get this to be Fox’s response;
“Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission ruled the gas biogenic rather than thermogenic…(aside on types of gas)….and Gasland was incorrect because we had misstated the facts that this biogenic gas was naturally occurring so that Mike Markham could light their water before the fracking but there was drilling going on in that area for 4 or 5 years and the report was that same year.”

davidmhoffer says:
June 4, 2011 at 9:37 pm
davidmhoffer says:
June 4, 2011 at 9:48 pm

I grew up in Southeast Pa and our home there had a well and where I live now in Maryland has a well and in both cases there is no law that well water gets tested every year. Matter of fact the original well where we now live dried up and a new one was drilled. Guess what the state of Maryland calls for? You test for yield and then disinfect the new well with Chlorine and that is it for testing as can be seen in the PDF linked here:
Yes paying to have your water tested once a year should be on the homeowners to do list, however most well water is not discolored or smelly and unless that changes most homeowners will not pay the expense of a private test.

Roy UK

Slightly OT, but fracking caused earthquakes in Blackpool, England according to the BBC. Oh and fracking is accelerating climate change.
A series of earthquakes near Blackpool have been blamed on the drilling of shale gas, which is also accused of polluting water supplies and accelerating climate change.
The BBC’s environment analyst Roger Harrabin reports.

Harrabin of course is a high priest in the AGW Cult.

Rattus Norvegicus,
Here in South Colorado (San Juan mountains), we use very hard well water with lots of limestone and methane in it. Being treated by the softener system (expensive, IMO), it becomes OK for dish washing, taking showers, etc. but not for cooking or drinking. And, if water pipes are not used for several weeks, stagnated water emits bad-smelling gas, mix of methane and H2S naturally contained in the local aquifers. There is a lot of traditional natural gas pumping going on around us, mostly by the Indian reservation authority. We still have to buy drinking water in the store, 12 miles from us.
I am sure that clever locals, as soon as they would get a wind of environmental suits against the fracturing oil & gas companies, would readily jump on the same wagon, hoping to get some money out of the system (unemployment is very high in our neck of the woods). This is exactly what happens elsewhere. Those people who are suing gas companies for “methane in the water” had the same problem before, and know it very well — but one cannot sue Mother Nature, n’est ce pas?

cwj says:
June 4, 2011 at 10:37 pm
Where I am in the midwest US, methane is not part of the very long list of substances tested in water from a new well, or in follow up testing, or in private wells for that matter. Routine testing would not detect methane, it isn’t part of the routine series.>>>
The long list of substances would include organic compounds as well as dissolved gasses with threshold limits that when exceeded would require additional testing to determine the specific contaminant.
And it isn’t “hopper”. No pees in my name just a couple of frakking effs.


I remember the sidewalks in Burbank catching fire on occasion when someone tossed a lit match. Seems there is plenty of natural gas seeping out through the ground in SoCal.
Also, wasn’t there Congressional testimony in the past couple of weeks by EPA that they have not documented a single case in the US where fracking has caused water contamination?
Oh, here it is … Lisa Jackson:

Jackson told a Republican from Pennsylvania (a state nicknamed “the Saudi Arabia of natural gas”) that she was “not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself” had affected water.

Seamus Dubh

A friend of mine’s well water does this naturally, they have a vent build into their standby tank to alleviate the build up preventing what he guy did in the first video.
We actually did that once by jamming the vent to build up the concentration enough.
The only other times it could happen is when they go away or lose power cutting the power to their pump, there by drying out the lines.


Second video © takedown.
Wuzzit weal or phaik?

Doug in Seattle

Not only on-site, but a private well.
If Colorado is like most western states there are few if any water quality testing requirements for private wells.
Usually the only WQ test ever performed on a private well is when the well is first drilled. Older wells may not have ever been tested since these even minimal requirements were only begun in the 80’s or 90’s.

Would Rattus please explain what kind of evidence would convince him that fracking causes no problems wrt methane in tap water?
If the answer is “none” then of course there is no point in debating the point.


Rattus norvegicus
Are you an Arab?
Allah u Akbar!


I think we need to be a bit more cautious with the consequences of this type of gas extraction.
While it might be true that the ‘documentary’ appeared to misrepresent the facts in the specifics shown, I would suggest that it is equally foolish to assume that ALL such reports of damage are equally so.
There is good evidence that some real damage has been caused in Australian sites.
There is clear evidence of chemical pollution of neighbouring water wells.
It would seem that this is prima facie evidence of the potentiality of damage to neighbouring pastoral industries.
Additionally the amount of water used and polluted in an outback Australian where water is so precious and from a common diminishing sources, ‘the great artesian basin’ , Murray/Darling river system could render this type of extraction counter productive for the nation.
My point is that each site should be tested and judged individually rather than a expedient formulaic approach of one in all in or the reverse , to do otherwise isn’t scientific.
Currently there is a Senate inquiry into the whole inustry.


I think we need to be a bit more cautious with the consequences of this type of gas extraction.
While it might be true that the ‘documentary’ appeared to misrepresent the facts in the specifics shown, I would suggest that it is equally foolish to assume that ALL such reports of damage are equally so.
There is good evidence that some real damage has been caused in Australian sites.
There is clear evidence of chemical pollution of neighbouring water wells.
It would seem that this is prima facie evidence of the potentiality of damage to neighbouring pastoral industries.
Additionally the amount of water used and polluted in an outback Australian where water is so precious and from a common diminishing sources, ‘the great artesian basin’ , Murray/Darling river system could render this type of extraction counter productive for the nation.
My point is that each site should be tested and judged individually rather than a expedient formulaic approach of one in all in or the reverse , to do otherwise isn’t scientific.
Currently there is a Senate inquiry into the whole industry.

Seems to me that he is making sure that people see the obvious implication that the fraking has caused this flaming water so the facts about it not being caused by this are totally relevant. The only thing that is not relevant is his defence of leaving out these relevant facts.


There is no reason to think methane is unnatural in lakes and therefor water supplies. In fact I can’t fathom a rational for questioning it.
For an extreme example, see Lake Nyos:
Methane captured under a cap of ice on a lake seems completely normal. Why would it not accumulate there?

Roy Jones

In the UK the press focus is on fracking causing earthquakes.

Lawrie Ayres

There is a campaign here on the mid north coast of NSW to stop gas exploration because of the claims in “Gasland”. If these facts had been included in the film much of the heat would go out of the rather vitriolic campaign. I’ll be writing to the local activists and have them read the NYT piece.

Latimer Alder

I wonder why climate alarmism attracts such ‘intellectually challenged’ people to its cause?
Here’s some examples
a. The guy above who couldn’t think through the consequences of a simple obvious question about history
b. The Hockey Team who never anticipated that somebody might look at their work in detail and expose it for the sham that it is.
c. The 10:10 video guys whose pathetic and pitiful attempt at propaganda scored a spectacular own goal
d. The UEA who (as Bishop Hill and colleagues is slowly exposing) didn’t even organise their own Climategate whitewashes in a bullet proof way. Bringing yet more ridcule and ordure on their heads
e. Mike Mann whose intellect seems to run out after parrotting ‘well-funded climate deniers’ and who thought nobody would question the disappearance of the well-documented Medieval Warm Period.
f. The Greenpeace publicity manager who threatened us all with ‘we know where you live’
and finally:
g. Dr Pacahuri who imagined himself so untouchable that with a phrase like ‘voodoo science’ he could quell any dissent. Instead his own credibility plunged into sharply negative territory.
This is not the behaviour of great strategic thinkers. These guys are not the sharpest knives in the drawer. They do not exude ‘bottom’. They are not the finest minds of their generation.
If this is the best team that the alarmists can muster, then I suspect that the game will be all over within five years. I seriously doubt if they will be winning many high-quality converts in that time.
And as the unhappy consequences of their lobbying come home to more and more of Joe Public, their case will come under ever more vigorous scrutiny. Wittering on about Big Oil funded deniers and blowing up children isn’t going to do them any good whem that day comes

Martin Brumby

Methane appearing uncontrolled above ground (and unsuspected) is a huge hazard. Often it is associated with abandoned shallow coal mine workings or from deeper workings where the mine entrance has not been adequately sealed. Particularly a drift mine because an inclined tunnel is more difficult to seal than a vertical shaft.
But there are also problems from comparatively shallow coal workings (a few hundreds of metres) where shafts have been sealed but where rebound groundwater following cessation of pumping drives methane gas up a geological fault. (Until the workings become flooded).
However, there have been spectacular and deadly explosions where the methane is from normal decay of organic material. One of the worst was at Abbeystead, which for some reason, everyone in this debate has conveniently forgotten:-
But methane isn’t something you want hanging around anywhere near your house. If the people with the flammable tap water shown in Gaslands have been exposed to this danger for decades, then whoever is responsible for regulating the water supply should be behind bars.
If fracking for shale gas at a depth of several kilometers is causing any genuine problems I would be surprised. The drillers must have been doing something really stupid. If not, then as an early commenter has suggested, the gas company should sue Fox’s sorry ass.
Arguably, many of the alleged problems we have had over the years have been attributable to BigGas, BigCoal and BigOil refusing to stand up to the likes of Fox, and Fiends of the Earth, Greenpiss and all the rest when they have been spouting lying nonsense. Not suggesting that Exxon should start playing hard ball with the little people who can’t be expected to necessarily get their facts right. But when rich organisations with numerous full time paid “experts” like WWF weigh in with their usual pernicious and tendentious bullshit they MUST be answered by legal action.
Instead BigOil and the rest have been much too interested in being “Mr. Nice Guy” and contributing money to crooks like the late unlamented Stephen Schneider.

R. S, George

Mr. Fox is an alarmist liar. He has jumped on the environmental wacko bandwagon in regard to something he has no idea what he is talking about. I am both a petroleum geologist and environmental geologist. Fracture treatment of shale gas formations thousands of feet in the ground is a miraculous technology that will provide the US with cheap domestic energy for decades. It is perfectly safe and it would be nearly impossible for it to affect the shallower groundwater wells many people use for their domestic supply. This is political football that people who hate petroleum producers are try to use to bring them under more federal regulations. Quite simply another federal government power grab. They have to create a perceived problem before government can come to our rescue. Mr. Fox is a pathetic snake oil peddler. Rather than fall on his knees and thank his creator for his great fortune, to live in our great county with such abundant resources, he makes a propaganda film to smear the good name of creative people who risked their personal livelihoods to bring us that resource. He is not worthy of an attempt at reeducation.

Martin Brumby

@dp says:
June 5, 2011 at 12:24 am
What you say is correct but, as your link shows the problem at Nyos was CO2, not CH4.

son of mulder

The BBC used a Gasland extract the other day to crank up the fear about fracking in Blackpool after the 1.5 Richter scale earthquake there recently.
They use the phrase “Environmental groups claim…”, a sign that they were aware of the dubious nature of the footage yet they still used the clip. Now they can say “Environmental groups and the BBC aimed to deceive by presenting irrelevant footage of natural methane leakage in the US “

Martin Brumby

The other exciting gas you can get in lower levels of lakes in Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S).
The Black Sea has a huge dead zone of H2S below a couple of hundred metres.
However, the danger of a mass inversion isn’t explosion as this media piece suggests, it is the toxicity of H2S. A lung full and you are a gonner.
But there may be scope for extracting hydrogen.

the Rossshire Mannie

Lot of froth about hot air – be greatful and collect it whilst it’s still freely available and “on tap” and use for heating / lighting etc. Hmmp! townees, – never happy – even when they are!

Mikael Pihlström

examinator says:
June 5, 2011 at 12:13 am
I think we need to be a bit more cautious with the consequences of this type of gas extraction.
While it might be true that the ‘documentary’ appeared to misrepresent the facts in the specifics shown, I would suggest that it is equally foolish to assume that ALL such reports of damage are equally so.

Well said. Fracking is in essence a high risk technology:
“The controversial new drilling operation for natural shale gas in Lancashire has
been suspended following a second earthquake in the area that may have been triggered by the process. The earthquake last Friday near Blackpool occurred at
the same time that the energy company Cuadrilla Resources was injecting fluids under high pressure deep underground to deliberately blast apart the gas-bearing rock – a process known as “fracking”, brought to Britain from the US, where it has been highly contentious.
Earthquake experts from the British Geological Survey said that the 1.5 magnitude quake last week was similar to a 2.3 earthquake in April in the same area and that both may be linked to the experimental fracking for shale gas at Preese Hall on the Fylde coast. ”

Larry in Texas

For what it is worth, I have a gas well in my neighborhood, about one or one and a half miles from my house. They have been fracking in the general area of Arlington, Texas, in the heart of the Barnett shale, for some time now. Although few people have wells in this area, I am not aware of anyone who has a well experiencing flaming water. The more common problem is the impact of injecting used water from the fracking process into the ground, which has created issues of potential groundwater contamination. These issues are being dealt with by the industry as they are presented. I believe there is a scare tactic environmental lobby out there misinforming the public, because our gas lessee can’t get a permit from the City of Arlington right now. I’d like to benefit from this while I’m alive, if possible. Stop the irrational scare tactics, Mr. Josh Fox.

John Marshall

The BBC showed a film of biogenic methane being ignited through a hole in the ice of a frozen lake and stated that it was evidence of climate change. Complete rubbish but the gullible swallowed the story.

Ziiex Zeburz

Industrialising gas deposits requires pressure in the deposit, it is not a viable proposition to pump gas from a well, so if a gas deposit is near the surface it would have lost its pressure hundreds of thousands of years ago.
Financially viable gas deposits are usually at the several km depth, and water deposits are not usually found on the same level.
Fracking in the oil industry is one of its most exact sciences, every oil-well drilled is fractured, it is a very expensive operation so the fracturing must be done were it is needed, not as the MSM have been misleading the world as a willienillie operation, the fracking tool is loaded with ‘bullets’ that are sent on predetermined paths in the structure that contains the hydrocarbons that are to be recuperated, making super highways for the liquids/gases to pass before entering the pipe to the surface, if there was a leak anywhere in the system the well operator would know immediately and the well would be shut in, you don’t spend millions of dollars on a well only to have some contractor blow it all away.