Another anti energy propaganda film at the Oscars
Image by ltmayers via FlickrMark Hemingway:
For anyone who cares about the environment and the economy over glamour and gossip, the biggest Oscar surprise of 2011 is that the film "Gasland" was nominated for best documentary.The anti energy left is desperate to come up with a way to stop the production of inexpensive natural gas, which, because of fracking, we now have an abundant supply of. This messes up their scheme to manipulate the price of energy driving up the price of conventional energy so that inefficient energy they call alternative energy, will look more competitive. They can't make an honest argument, so they resort to the kinds of dishonesty Hemingway discusses here.
While Hollywood is typically in the business of creating legends, one would expect films nominated for this particular Oscar to have some tangible relationship to the truth. You'd be very hard-pressed to say that about "Gasland."
The film explores the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." This is a process in which a solution that is 99 percent water and sand -- along with tiny amounts of chemicals -- is pumped into rock strata deep underground at very high pressure to help extract natural gas.
According to Gasland, fracking pollutes groundwater with terrible consequences. But there's no credible evidence that this is happening. None.
Oil and natural gas engineers have used this process more than a million times in this country to harvest otherwise unreachable oil and natural gas deposits. A thorough EPA study has concluded fracking is safe.
And the head of the Environmental Protection Agency's Drinking Water Protection Division told Congress last year that there's not a single documented instance of fracking polluting groundwater.
Nonetheless, it's generally agreed that "Gasland" is a slick piece of agitprop. The film's pivotal scene involves a Colorado family turning on their water taps and so much gas comes out that they light them on fire.
However, the state of Colorado's Oil and Gas Conservation Commission issued a press release stating that they had investigated the flaming water taps of the landowners in 2008 and 2009 and concluded it was naturally occurring methane, unrelated to oil and gas drilling.