Anya Tikka | Democrat
Josh Fox (second from left in a black T-shirt) joins the crowd for a photo he said will be sent to both President Obama and Governor Cuomo to show local resistance to fracking.
'Gasland 2' makes its case in Callicoon
Story by Anya Tikka
CALLICOON June 14, 2013 If the first “Gasland” movie was designed to make viewers think about hydrofracking, then “Gasland 2” will make them frown and get angry.
Director Josh Fox makes his case against fracking with step-by-step footage explaining how he came to be involved in the anti-fracking movement, building to the movie’s bleak conclusion that powerful oil and gas industries are pulling the strings not only locally, but all the way to the federal government.
Catskill Mountainkeeper, Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy and Damascus Citizens for Sustainability rented the Callicoon Theatre and sponsored the movie last Saturday. The free screening drew a nearly full house, with questions and answers after the show where area leaders of the anti-fracking movement joined Fox.
Fox had this to say before the showing: “The oil and gas industry have done a lot of things in the last few years to try to deter people from actually knowing the facts. They are amazing in their efforts to spread this [false] information.
“It’s always nonsense, pure nonsense. People need to educate themselves about what fracking is,” he added. “It’s millions of gallons of water laced with toxic chemicals injected into a well resulting in horrific pollution… These are multi-national oil and gas companies coming to exploit the wells, contaminate communities. They take the profits away and leave the communities in a toxic mess and fractured landscape. This is very clear all across the country.”
Next door, at Sidetracks Sports Bar, the rival documentary “Fracknation” was being shown at the same time, with director Phelim McAleer on hand to answer questions. The two directors did not meet during the rival screenings.
A story on “Fracknation” will appear in Tuesday’s Democrat.
In response to the claims in “Fracknation” that farmers say they are fine living next to gas wells, Fox stated, “Science says wells fail initially at the rate of one out of twenty, so… one or two people are fine. They are benefitting from the suffering of their own neighbors. It’s not whether one or two people do well. We are not like that as Americans… every man, every woman for themselves. This is about sustainable development. That’s what we need.”
He added, “Over a 30-year period, 50 percent of the wells will fail, it’s the industry’s own statistics. It’s a sad situation. The oil and gas industry are behind these kinds of statements” that science says fracking is safe.
Fox interviews Cornell professor Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, an expert on cement. He noted that all cement cracks, and the cement in the pipe casings of the wells will crack, and as a result gas will migrate into the aquifers.
Fox documents his second journey among the places that have already had fracking for years, both in USA and overseas.
The movie shows homeowners in Texas whose houses had been ruined by fracking to the extent they fear it will blow up under them because of methane, a byproduct of fracking, and because they are suffering from serious health issues, and have been advised to move for their health.
In places where fracking has already taken place for a long time, like Texas and Wyoming, some homeowners who were forced to move advised this: “Fight them as hard as you can.”
Seismic activity due to fracking is being studied and alarming evidence of correlation has been found, experts assert in the movie. Air quality problems have been causing not only respiratory problems, but also all round health concerns. Methane gas is one of the major emissions from fracking wells, and also a leading cause of the greenhouse effect.
For an alternative to fossil fuels, “Gasland 2” also includes a scientist explaining how renewable energy could fuel the world many times over if resources were pooled.
Another point the movie emphasizes is that local areas will not benefit from the deposits under their soil. Financial market experts note that energy companies are busy building pipelines to the ports to export the gas to the markets that pay much more than the domestic market. “This will inevitably lead to the price going up here in US, too,” one analyst predicted.
After the movie Fox got up and took questions from the audience with a panel of local anti-fracking movement leaders. He asked people to pose for a photo that was going to be sent to President Obama, and to Governor Cuomo, demanding for a change in policy regarding energy for the US.