DAUK Film Night: Gasland II

 

 

DAUK Film Night - Friday, April 11 2014

Get up to date with fracking!

Come to the DAUK Film Night screening of Gasland II

 

Many will have seen Gasland, Josh Fox’s hard-hitting documentary on the shale gas (fracking) revolution.  In 2011 this film was nominated for a best documentary Oscar.  With Gasland II, Fox explores the rapid expansion of fracking throughout the USA and its political and environmental implications. 

Gasland II follows a number of families who lost their water supply and eventually their homes to the gas boom.  Writer/director Josh Fox argues that because of political donations, oil and gas companies have managed to overrule government regulators and control politicians.

According to an investigation by Bloomberg News, “…even the stories of poisoned water and flaring water hoses are being forced underground. Over the past few years, gas companies have bought out the properties of home owners whose water was contaminated by fracking fluids, in return for non-disclosure agreements.”

Fracking has already won powerful supporters in the US and UK, as well as grass roots opposition.  With the current unrest in Ukraine and possible disruption of gas supplies from Russia to Europe, the call for energy independence is growing louder than arguments for environmental concerns or alternative energy.  This film could not be more relevant for voters in the USA, UK and Europe. 

Director, Josh Fox, told The Guardian

"This isn't just about fracking at all anymore. This is about our system of government, and this is about climate change… If what we are seeing all across America is people able to light their water on fire, why hasn't our government done anything about it, why have our regulatory agencies failed to protect us?

“We have seen state agencies, local agencies, even the EPA be controlled by politics, and when it becomes a matter of politics, the science just magically disappears," Fox said. "Investigations get rolled back and buried."

Following the film, we had a discussion via Skype with John Fenton, a Wyoming farmer who appears in both  films.

 

Speakers:

John Fenton is a farmer from Pavillion,  Wyoming, who appears in both Gasland and Gasland II. There are 24 gas wells on his family farm. His Pavillion community has been subjected to pollution of the local ground water and its air, as well as changes in agricultural land use as a result of local fracking. 

In 2010, after it found the water to be contaminated with dangerous chemicals and methane caused by fracking, the EPA warned Pavillion residents not to drink the local water, and advised them to use fans when bathing or washing clothes to avoid the risk of explosion.  

John has been involved with campaigns for effective regulation at local, state and national levels.  He has become a leading activist in the US against unconventional gas exploration and has recently been on a speaking tour in Australia, where fracking is also a political issue.

Elizabeth Block is a journalist and consultant who specializes in renewable energy.  She has been following the shale gas debate very closely. As an opponent of the increased use of fossil fuels, Liz attended the anti-shale gas protest at Balcombe, Sussex, last summer.

Given the huge spread of fracking in the US, and its possible use in Britain, Liz feels that it is very important for DAUK members to have a chance to see this documentary and be informed of the political debates of energy vs. environment.


She is an active member of Democrats Abroad UK, the DAUK Film Committee and is also on the management committee of the Tipping Point Film Fund; a London-based group that supports campaigning documentaries.

 

Information resources on fracking

Write to pancoordinaor@daukpan.org.uk with your suggestions for links to other material on fracking.  If you are interested in setting up an informal discussion  group for  DAUK members on this topic, write to the same email address!

Film Website:  wwww.gaslandthemovie.com

 

Film reviews

Debunking Gasland Part II :  a critical piece from a pro-fracking perspective by  Energy-In-Depth (E-I-D) which Josh Fox identifies as  a PR firm/lobbying group funded by the American Petroleum Institute  His detailed response to their points can be   found here .

Interviews with Josh Fox:

Suzanne Goldberg, Guardian (July 3 1013) . "Josh Fox's Gasland II to expose power poltiics of fracking.".

 

Information on John Fenton:

This is the site set up for his Australian tour.  Here you can find further information on his personal experience and his talks and writings while in Australia. 

An interview with Green left

 

General Sources

House of Representatives: Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power (March 6 2014) hearing titled “Benefits of and Challenges to Energy Access in the 21st Century: Fuel Supply and Infrastructure”

Facing the Challenges: Research on Shale Gas Extraction Symposium. Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA. Center for Environmental Research and Education. November 25-26, 2013.   Videos of pressentations by academic researchers on topics including air and water quality, humand and animal health, methane migration and climate change as well as social,  poltical and legal aspects are available for viewing here.

 

NPR's state impact pages, which cover Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Texas,  offer details and analysis of several issues related to fracking.

Current stories, campaigns  and case Studies

Campaign in Maryland. Mark Hertsgaard,  "The Other Keystone : It's just as important to stop Cove Point," The Nation. April 7 2014

Campaigns in Pennsylvania:

Pennslyvania Alliancee for Clean Water and Air  provides a list of  "The Harmed" documenting  the accounts  individuals and families that have been harmed by fracking (or fracked gas and oil production) in the US.

National campaigns: 

Americans against Fracking

 

Earthquakes and  fracking:

           In Ohio

          In Texas

             In Oklahoma

Health Issues and fracking

Naveena Sadasivam, "In Fracking Fight, a Worry About How Best to Measure Health Threats" ProPublica Report

Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project serves as an information resource and health  monitoring and support agency for residents of Washington County, Pennslyvania, on health issues associated with natural gas drilling in  the area and offers monitorint

North Dakota:   http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/03/10/1283575/-Testimony-Record-36-of...

State and Local  Actions

Los Angeles. Simon Davis-Cohen. "LA City Council Tells Big Oil To Frack Off As residents complain of nosebleeds and headaches, the country’s biggest oil-producing city moves to ban hydraulic fracturing."   The Nation. March 27, 2014.

 

 

Within the Democratic Party:

New York

Steve Cohen. "Cuomos#s Careful Approach to Fracking,"  Huffington Post 10/08/2012.

California Democratic Party Platform: 2014  Resolution for a moratorium on fracking: :  "THEREFORE,  BE  IT  RESOLVED  that  the  California  Democratic  Party  supports:  1)  an  immediate  moratorium  on  fracking,  with  such  a  moratorium  to  remain  in  effect  until  legislation  and  regulations    are  put  in  place  that  repeal  the  exception  in  the  Safe  Drinking  Water  Act,  guarantee  public  health  and  safety,  mitigate  the  effects  on  climate  change,  protect  the  environment  and  allow  government  access  and  testing  of  the  chemicals  used;  2)  full  disclosure and  testing  of  all  sites;  and  3)  substitution  of  conservation  and  renewable  sources  of  energy  where  practical."

 Non-disclosure agreements

 

Political Donations and the fracking lobby:

Citisens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington. "Natural  Cash:  How the fracking industry fuels Congresss."  2013.

 

 

 

International context:

UK:

Natalie Hynde,. "Why we need an outright ban on fracking in the UK," Guardian, February 26 2014

 

France

BBC report, October 11 2013  "Fracking ban upheld by French court"

Ukraine:

Naomi Klein. "Why US fracking companies are licking their lips over Ukraine" The Guardian.  10 April 2014

 

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