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:
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.
Here’s the video:
No mention of fracking or drilling nearby.
Even research scientists get a kick out of naturally occurring biogenic methane: