Five years ago almost no one knew the term – Fracking. Today it is one of the hottest topics in America and has become one of our hottest political footballs. The question is whether the fracking process harms underground water. It depends on who you ask.
Josh Fox received money from HBO to make a movie called Gasland. The documentary reached great heights as it was nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary based on a small theatrical release. Josh Fox, a little known theater director, became a darling of the anti-fracking movement. The highlight of his film was a scene where a resident of Dimock Township, Pennsylvania, lit his water on fire. That would scare most people and it certainly did. It left critics questioning the viability of the fracking process. Except for some Irish filmmakers
Previously, Ann McElhinney had made documentaries for the BBC, CBC (Canada) and RTE (Ireland). McElhinney and her team had made two prior movies about what McElhinney characterized as “environmental scares.” After seeing Gasland, they decided that they needed to look into the matter.
What they found was water in major portions of America can be lit on fire. That is because it contains hydrocarbons. They found this from simple research. What they also found was that fracking is not some new thing. It has been going on since it originated in Kansas in 1947 – not exactly new technology. What has changed is that new technology has allowed for drilling that is horizontal once you drill down, allowing one well to access a much broader area.
So they set out to make a movie because they had doubts about the claims made in Gasland. The movie they made is FrackNation, which recently debuted in theaters in Los Angeles and New York. The movie has not received a fond reception amongst the anti-fracking crowd. That crowd made a claim the film was funded by you know who - the Koch brothers. As the producers delineate in the film, all of the money was raised on Kickstarter. If you go to the website you can see that as of March 2, 2014, they raised $212,266 for the project.