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?