From Flaming Faucet to Flaming Hose: The Continuing Fraud of Gasland

When Josh Fox released his movie “Gasland” in 2010, he made it clear from the very beginning that the iconic scene would be the “flaming faucet” from Weld County, Colorado. And why not? It coupled fears of water contamination with vivid imagery – which was exactly what Fox wanted to do with the film.

In case you’ve forgotten, here’s that clip:

The problem, though, is that two years before the release of Gasland, Colorado regulators had investigated that exact case, and determined hydraulic fracturing and oil and gas development had nothing to do with it. “There are no indications of oil & gas related impacts to water well,” according to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission report.

After Gasland was released, COGCC noted once again that the landowner’s water well “contained biogenic gas that was not related to oil and gas activity.”

The iconic scene on which Fox hinged the movie’s credibility (not to mention his own) was blatant and deliberate deception.

Fast forward to 2013 and the release of Gasland Part II. The iconic scene in this film? A man in Parker County, Texas, lighting the end of a garden hose on fire, which the audience is supposed to believe is a result of gas drilling.

Here’s that scene:

There you go again, Josh.

According to a 2012 ruling of the Texas District Court, this landowner conspired with a local consultant to:

“…intentionally attach a garden hose to a gas vent – not to a water line – and then light and burn the gas from the end of the nozzle of the hose. The demonstration was not done for scientific study but to provide local and national news media a deceptive video, calculated to alarm the public into believing the water was burning … [and] alarm the EPA.”

Not only that, but two years ago state regulators investigated that incident and determined the source was natural seepage from a shallower rock formation, and that nearby natural gas wells “have not contributed and are not contributing to contamination of any domestic water wells.”

As for the EPA, a senior official – Al “Crucify Them” Armendariz – initially worked in lockstep with local activists to pursue a baseless endangerment order against the operator of those wells, Range Resources. Extensive geochemical gas fingerprinting, however, showed a natural source for the methane – not drilling (or “fracking”). An EPA official later admitted under oath that the agency had not conducted extensive fingerprinting to find the source, and in 2012 the EPA dropped its case.

After the EPA withdrew the endangerment order, the Texas Railroad Commission – which regulates oil and gas in Texas – reaffirmed the lack of impact: “Range Resources’ Parker County gas wells did not contaminate groundwater.”

As you can see, Gasland Part II is a film premised on the same dishonesty, the same deception, and the same careless disregard for the facts as the original. The fact that Fox made it so deliberately misleading makes it that much more unfortunate, and it’s why we think a better title for the movie is Gasland Too.

What do you think? Do you plan to watch Gasland Part II?

Comments

  1. Steve Rupert says:

    I just listened to the NPR show with Josh Fox and Steve Everley. I commend Steve for taking the leap into the lion’s den (so to speak), given that the host Diane Rehm was obviously already “on Josh Fox’s team” before the show started. It was never a fair debate. However, I was very disappointed that Steve never directly answered any of Ms. Rehm’s questions, especially about Matt Pitzerella’s “Psy-Ops” comments. Our side of the story came through as fragmented and unsubstantiated as Fox’s. I doubt that we made any converts, or even stimulated any new thoughts from any of the listeners. I know first hand that refuting these type of claims is very difficult, and doing it over the phone through an obviously hostile radio program is even more difficult, but frankly I expected a better showing from EID.

  2. Kim Feil says:

    This is the DFW TX local news media’s video on this subject

    http://org.salsalabs.com/o/676/p/salsa/web/tellafriend/public/?tell_a_friend_KEY=12012

    • Steve Everly says:

      Thanks Kim. The WFAA report unfortunately linked the gas pressure at the well’s bradenhead (which is what prompted the Railroad Commission’s action) to the methane that appeared in the landowner’s water well. Fingerprinting and extensive testing, conducted back in 2011 (at a hearing that incorporated the Railroad Commission’s actions, on which the WFAA report focused), showed that the composition of the gas at the bradenhead is different from what’s in Mr. Lipsky’s water well. Additionally, pay close attention toward the end of that clip, as you’ll notice that local wells were documented as being flammable at least four years before gas drilling began in the area, and a local water tank has had a FLAMMABLE sign on it for that very same reason: high levels of naturally occurring methane.

      Again, this information is not new, and was part of the focus of hearings back in January 2011. You can find some of the most relevant documents examining this case on our website: http://energyindepth.org/national/hearing-documents-actual-facts-associated-with-parker-co-wells/

      Thanks for reading.

      –Steve

  3. How come all the people interested in representing Gasland as some sort of hoax are hooked to the energy industry? I’m interested in the truth, not spin.

    When you talk about wells being flammable years before drilling commenced, that is compelling. How hard would it be to sample a large number of such wells near every drill before drilling? In fact why is that not required by law?

    DOES THE GAS EXTRACTION INDUSTRY HAVE SPECIAL EXEMPTIONS to EPA rules that would otherwise impact ecologically disruptive activities?

    IS American LNG being exported?

    IS fracking as dirty as claimed by Fox, when one accounts for all the energy costs of extraction, processing, and conveyance, plus leaked methane, leaky spent-water holding basins, etc?

    If one guy pulled the wool over Fox’s eyes that does not make the whole show invalid, any more than BP pleading guilty to hiding evidence makes the whole fossil fuel industry corrupt.

    • Steve Everley says:

      Hi Ron, thank you for your questions. Below are answers along with additional resources for you to access.

      Producers often conduct pre-drill testing in areas they plan on developing (it’s required in Illinois, per the new law signed by Gov. Quinn), and scientists have documented private water well quality problems for decades. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) recently completed testing in Sullivan Co., PA – in an area where zero natural gas wells have been drilled. The USGS analysis found the water wells registered high levels of methane and also contained concentrations of arsenic, boron, bromide, chloride, fluoride, lithium, molybendum, and sodium. This research, once again, reaffirms that naturally occurring methane has been, and is still, present in the groundwater in many areas of the country, regardless of whether natural gas development is taking place. For the complete USGS study see here: http://on.doi.gov/11Hx3un

      Hydraulic fracturing has been in practice for over 60 years and is tightly regulated on a state-by-state level, in order to account for the varying geologies of different states, as opposed to blanket Federal regulation that would amount to a one-size-fits-all process, which simply does not work. The EPA has praised the states on numerous occasions for adequately regulating hydraulic fracturing.

      Natural gas has been imported into and exported from the United States for years. Pipelines delivering natural gas to Mexico, for example, are operating today. There are projects underway to increase exports (which means reducing our trade deficit) to countries with which the United States does not have free trade agreements, but each one of those must be individually approved, based on a public interest determination, by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission must also approve those projects.

      Josh Fox’s films have been reviewed and found to grossly mischaracterize both the HF process and the oil and gas industry. For more information on that, see here: http://bit.ly/11JYVyc

      Steve
      [email protected]

      • Robert Stone says:

        Just came across this bit of information about the staged flame demonstrations, so I’m coming late to the party…. Shame on the anti-fracking contingent for trying to sway public opinion with fraudulent displays. That being said, what about the economic costs in reduced property values for local property/homeowners? Especially in light of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson’s contention that he will be harmed by the increased traffic and noise that a water tank adjacent to his property, built to service the fracking industry, would cause? What is your reaction to his contention? To see the article go to http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/02/21/3316881/exxon-ceo-protests-fracking/# I guess it’s who’s ox is getting gored, right? I look forward to your response.

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Trackbacks

  1. […] En passant pourquoi avoir fait un Gasland 2? Simplement parce que Fracknation avait complètement démoli et exposé les mensonges de Gasland, alors Josh Fox a essayé de faire un 2e film pour sauver la face, mais ce dernier est tout aussi rempli de mensonges et de manipulations que le premier. Voir: From Flaming Faucet to Flaming Hose: The Continuing Fraud of Gasland […]

  2. […] The “flaming faucets” scene in Gasland is a fraud btw: the cases filmed were from biogenc methane, not fracking. […]

  3. […] assets in Texas, but these aren’t the one’s she’s referring to when she mentions flaming hose man Steve Lipsky, who also played loose with the facts, of course. There is no connection between the two companies. […]

  4. […] some limited assets in Texas, but these aren’t the one’s she’s referring to when she mentionsflaming hose man Steve Lipsky, who also played loose with the facts, of course. There is no connection between the two companies. […]

  5. […] suggest you read the Energy In Depth article and learn how these fraudulent claims in the films are misleading […]

  6. […] coal beds” containing methane, the regulators concluded. So the “flaming faucet” scene was a sham, but Fox built his movie around it anyway. This is something Rep. Polis knew – or should have […]

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