FrackNation (2013) Movie Script

The shale deposits that lie
beneath 34 states
harbor large reserves of natural gas.
Energy companies are digging
wells across the country
in hoping to revolutionize
our energy consumption.
There's also growing concern over
one way they drill for natural gas.
It's something called "fracking."
The high-pressure pumping
of water and chemicals
deep into the earth
to release oil and gas.
It's been implicated
with water contamination,
air pollution, health effects...
Now the debate has a new concern.
The process may trigger earthquakes.
You put a match to your water
and it went up in flames?
We are in Copenhagen for the United
Nations Climate Change Conference.
My name is Phelim McAleer.
I'm an investigative journalist
and I love it.
If you don't shut that off
I'm gonna take it away from you.
Asking the powerful
difficult questions is a great job.
Mr. Gore, will you
correct the record?
I wouldn't do anything else.
I was a reporter in Northern Ireland
during the Troubles,
and later worked for
the UK Sunday Times,
and then The Financial Times
and The Economist.
Fracking is a huge story
because most people believed we
were running out of fossil fuels.
But it turns out most people
were wrong.
We came up with a way to tap
previously inaccessible oil
and gas from shale rock.
In terms of a newfound source
of energy for the globe,
this discovery that gas shales
can be productive
is probably one of the most
important step increases
in the amount of energy
available to the world
that's happened
in a long, long time.
It's just absolutely huge.
The combination
of horizontal drilling
and hydraulic fracturing
has allowed the world now finally
to unlock huge quantities
of hydrocarbons
and provide cheap,
abundant, reliable energy
to not just millions of people, but
potentially to billions of people.
But despite all this good news,
fracking is controversial,
mostly because of this man.
Josh Fox is a journalist
and filmmaker.
According to Gasland, his
Oscar-nominated documentary,
which also won an Emmy,
fracking is a complete disaster.
It's polluting water and causing
serious illnesses and deaths.
And, in the most famous scene
in Gasland,
people's tap water
bursts into flames.
Whoa! Jesus Christ!
Because of these claims,
fracking has been banned in many places,
from Pennsylvania and New York
to France and Bulgaria.
But it took me only five minutes
on the internet
to discover this claim of flammable
water was very questionable.
I went to a screening of
Gasland in Chicago
to ask Josh Fox about it.
Excuse me, this is...
Not relevant? Josh Fox,
the director of Gasland,
knew that one of the most
dramatic scenes in his documentary
probably had nothing to do
with fracking,
but decided not to tell his audience.
So I put the exchange on YouTube.
But before you could say
"flaming faucets,"
Josh Fox got his lawyers
to force YouTube to take it down.
I put it on another website,
but using a bogus copyright claim,
he shut me down again.
This was censorship.
What was Josh Fox afraid of?
What was he trying to hide?
I needed to investigate.
I decided to ask the public
to help me make a film
that would tell the true story
about fracking.
I went on the crowdfunding
website Kickstarter.
Folks with big ideas
but not a lot of money
connect with people
willing to fund them
for everything from documentary films
to new technology.
Here's how it works:
Creators post a video,
pitching an idea,
and ask for donations.
Anyone who likes it can give as much
money or as little as they want.
This is a film about people
and it will be funded by people.
It'll be funded by small donations
from you and people like you
who care about the truth.
The response was amazing.
People from all over the world
were sending in $5.00,
$10.00, $20.00.
In the end, well over
3,000 people chipped in.
Clearly, the truth about fracking
is something they wanted
but weren't getting.
I went straight to the place
that has been painted
as the ultimate environmental
wasteland caused by fracking.
In tiny Dimock, Pennsylvania,
there is trouble just below the surface.
Methane in some of the water wells,
enough for ignition at the tap,
made famous by a scene from
the documentary Gasland...
As I drove around,
I could see no wasteland.
I did see beautiful farmland
with rolling hills.
Were people here
as unhappy about fracking
as the media and Josh Fox claimed?
There was the guy that knocked at
the door, knocked on Esther's door.
Well, one day,
a land man knocked at our door.
A station wagon came down
the driveway that I didn't recognize,
and a gentleman came out
and presented us
with a proposed lease
for the property.
My grandfather has leased
when other companies have
come along in the past
so we just thought, Grandpa
would have done it, why can't we?
More than a dozen families
in Dimock, Pennsylvania
have water that looks like this.
The water came out looking
like coffee with milk in it.
Sautner says their water supply
became contaminated
when Cabot Oil Company
started drilling
and something got
into their well water.
Our son broke out
in open sores down his legs
from using the water here.
Our daughter had big sores of...
eczema? Is that what it's called?
We shouldn't have to live
like this. We're Americans.
We knew we had iron, manganese,
magnesium, aluminum,
chloride, sodium, strontium,
barium, three different
types of uranium,
two of them are weapons-grade.
And a host of other chemicals,
some I can't even pronounce
the names of them.
The state agency ordered Cabot
to stop drilling new wells,
and to deliver fresh water
to affected residents.
The Pennsylvania Department
of Environmental Protection
introduced a moratorium, a ban,
until they could study
the situation.
This meant no drilling by Cabot
in a nine-mile box around Dimock.
So it just put a kibosh
on everything.
We were 13 days out
from having a permit
where they actually could
come in and start drilling,
and all of a sudden
they couldn't do anything.
But Cabot, they put methane
in the water.
They polluted the water.
- No.
- Allegedly.
The next residence here
is Craig and Julie Sautner,
who have all kinds of claims of all
kinds of chemical contamination,
weapons-grade uranium, etc., etc.
In their well.
But they've never shown
any lab data to verify it.
They just claim it.
Meanwhile, every well around them
is active and online.
I began to suspect that Craig
Sautner's claims about contaminants,
including weapons-grade
uranium in his water,
were greatly exaggerated,
or maybe even false.
Have you done
independent testing yourself?
We did, way back, you know,
maybe two years ago.
Two years ago
we did some testing.
But that, you know, I don't think
we've done any testing since that.
- Independent, you know.
- And what did that show?
I can't remember what that showed.
They said, they said the test results
weren't that bad,
but I don't know if the guy
was testing the water,
you know, testing
for the right things.
See, there's some kind of,
they gotta test 'em,
test it a certain way,
I forget how they said it,
but it was, uh...
I don't know how,
I don't know how they do it.
Can I get a sample of your water
to take to Ireland?
Yeah, I'll give you a jug.
I got jugs out in the...
But the water now?
I don't know what
it looks like today.
I mean, she said
it wasn't looking as bad today.
I mean, I got some, you know,
it changes from day to day.
One day it will be clearer,
and the next day it won't.
And Craig Sautner,
who claims his water is muddy brown
because of fracking,
was only able to produce clear water
when asked in front of a camera.
It does change, you know,
from one day to the next.
So how can you trust a well?
You know, all of a sudden
you get, say,
"Well, that looks okay but it does
have a little bit of stuff in there."
Say, well, then
that's fine to use,
and then the next day
it comes out looking like this.
It's not due to the drilling.
There's always been methane
in the water here.
We grew up on the farm,
on the house down here,
and, you know, my grandfather
drilled a well in 1945.
The day he drilled the well,
there was methane in it.
I'll show you where the well is,
that was drilled in '45.
- What's that?
- That is the well.
- And do you still use it?
- The only thing we use it for
is washing the cars
or watering the garden.
Because it is so red with iron.
It has methane too,
but the methane don't hurt you.
It's the iron turns everything red.
So, what's this then?
This is the second well
that we drilled, in the 70s.
- And what's in that well?
- Methane.
We still use it.
No problems.
But the moratorium
was not going to be the only problem
for the people of Dimock.
Now they were going to be
served with a massive bill
for a pipeline that was
supposed to solve a problem
that they knew did not exist.
The Pennsylvania infrastructure
investment Authority
voted Tuesday
on a controversial project.
They decided to give $12 million
to build a water pipeline
between Montrose and Dimock.
It was a fiat, it was simply,
"This is what we are going to do".
We reacted in anger.
We were citizens of this community,
and you don't expect to have
$12 million of the state's money
committed to a project that
may or may not make any sense,
that hasn't been researched,
that alternatives haven't
been considered for.
So we all got together and formed
a group called "Enough Already"
because we had
had enough already.
It was just a group of
people that got together
and said, "Look, this is ridiculous."
We've had enough. Enough already.
After we had a couple
of meetings,
we decided to get a petition around
and have everybody sign it.
We had over 1,500 signatures.
The water line issue has split this
tiny rural Susquehanna County town,
and quite literally.
- We had to do something.
We just didn't like being
trashed all the time.
Dimock is not a wasteland,
it's not a gasland.
It's not a ghost town.
We're tired of getting
on the internet
and reading blogs where
people are just lying, saying,
"I drove into Dimock
and I immediately got sick
from breathing the air."
We have been the victims
of a continual deluge
of completely inaccurate reporting
about the condition of
the water in this community.
It seemed the voices
of the ordinary people in Dimock
who were saying their water was fine
weren't being heard.
It wasn't hard to see why.
Josh Fox was getting huge support
from Hollywood celebrities.
Some even came to Dimock.
Dimock, we made it,
we're here, we come in love.
People are fractured.
We're all fractured over this.
The locals
didn't stand a chance.
There's a common
misconception out there
that the Dimock community
is fighting the gas company.
The Dimock community loves Cabot.
There's 11 litigants and a few other
stray oddballs here and there
that are fighting them.
The rest of us, we want drilling
to proceed as normal,
and beef up our economy,
and create jobs.
It's our right
to make our voices known.
And apparently we did.
- The water line got stopped.
- The water line got stopped.
It was a big win
for this grassroots organization.
But their fight wasn't over.
The moratorium was still in place and
the Sautners and ten other families
were still suing the gas company.
As for the rest of
the citizens of Dimock,
well, their lives were on hold.
Was this justified?
I'm Bryan Swistock.
I'm a water resources specialist
here at Penn State
in the School of Forest Resources.
I work for a cooperative extension,
do education, outreach
and applied research projects.
Specifically, in this case,
we were doing a research project
looking at the potential impacts
of Marcellus shale
on private drinking water supplies.
In summary, our study really
did not see any clear changes
in water quality
due to hydraulic fracturing.
We didn't see any increases
in methane in water
as a result of the process.
What about the flaming faucets?
Sure. Yeah, there can
be many natural sources of methane,
and it's not really anything new.
You can have methane in water
for a variety of reasons.
It can be what's called
biogenic methane,
which is naturally occurring,
just due to natural decomposition.
Maybe you're located
next to a stream
where there's been a lot of organic
matter decomposing over time.
We had some people that told stories
of lighting their faucets on fire
for years now, well before
any of this drilling started.
A flaming fountain,
the most unusual
artesian well in the country.
Forty years ago, a well was dug
in the front of the courthouse
at Colfax, Louisiana.
At 600 feet, they struck natural gas.
And at 1,100 feet, salt water.
More or less discouraged over
the matter of a drinking fountain
for the courthouse square,
they fixed up a small bathing pool
for children at the base
of the fountain,
and touched off the escaping gas.
The result, especially at night,
is a fiery fountain of strange beauty
that has burned on and on
almost half a century.
There are even towns
across America called Burning Springs.
That's how much gas is out there.
And George Washington
and Thomas Paine
lit the water on the Millstone River
in New Jersey
on December 15th, 1798,
150 years before fracking
even started.
So, what is fracking?
Fracking is a very efficient way
of getting oil and natural gas
out of the ground.
Activists make it seem like
fracking is something very new
that we know little about.
It's not.
It's been around since 1947
when the first frack well
was drilled in Kansas.
And this is what it looks like.
A pipe is drilled into the
earth more than a mile down,
about the length of 200 school buses
parked end to end.
And that is very far away
from the water table.
To keep the water going down
and the gas going up inside
the pipe, and everything else,
outside the pipe there is layer
after layer of steel and cement.
What's new is that before,
every time geologists
discovered oil and gas,
they had to drill
right there to get it.
So there were lots of holes
in the ground.
But then someone who is much better
at math and science than me
thought up how to angle
the drilling bit
so it goes not only down,
but sideways.
Now the engineers did not have to
drill directly above their target,
so they could,
often together with farmers,
choose where to put the gas wells.
And from one pad they could
drill in many different directions.
So suddenly there were far
fewer drilling sites around.
Then, deep underground, water
and sand with chemical additives
are pushed out to open tiny cracks
in the rock to set the gas free.
And then the engineers
bring back the hills,
grass and animals around the well.
It's called "reclamation."
And from then on, the gas can flow up
the pipes, into people's homes
for another 20, 30, or even 40 years.
This is not new technology.
Fracturing has been going on here
continuously since
its inception 60 years ago.
The equipment's the same,
the pumps are the same,
the iron's the same,
the standards are the same.
What's different is what
we are fracking is shale.
It's the formation, it's not
the process that's different.
These guys have many years
of experience doing this.
Anyone on this location has
the ability to shut down this job.
If they see something
that they see as unsafe,
they can shut down this job.
So if I was to leave here and jump
on top of one of those tanks...
We would shut this job down
in a heartbeat, yeah.
I've been working in
Pennsylvania since 2008,
so I've been here three years.
We've been married 19 years,
and we've moved 22 times.
And now we just recently
moved back to Pennsylvania.
Tony grew up in
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania,
and we both attended Penn State.
Two of our children were born here.
So we call this home.
We love it here.
This is a beautiful place to live.
So why would we come in here
and want to purposely destroy that?
What is the benefit to us? What kind
of business sense does it make
to come in and try to pollute
the drinking water of an area?
It's ludicrous.
It's a ludicrous claim.
What do you think
the popular perception of fracking is?
First of all, the perception
that they're getting
about fracturing is the entire
drilling completions
and production process is fracking,
which is totally not the case.
Fracking is one part
of a much bigger process,
and it's three days in the life
of a well that's gonna last 40 years.
But what about the claim
that fracking is completely unregulated?
Environmentalists say
that the 2005 Energy Bill
removed all regulation
from fracking
and left the public unprotected.
They even had a catchy name for it:
"the Halliburton Loophole."
But that wasn't true.
Oil and gas drilling always has,
for over 100 years, been heavily
regulated by individual states.
The permit's just
to construct the well,
include conducting
a PNDI search, an ESEGP1.
You have to test water purveyors
within 1,000 feet of the location,
township approvals,
pre-construction and pre-drill.
We screen for cultural resources,
we find anything we have to do.
Phase one and phase two.
Survey the location,
stream crossing permits,
water management planning.
That would include a study
of the impact of habitats of fish.
For any impoundments
you're gonna build,
you're gonna need
another ESEGP1.
You're gonna need a dam permit
for any pipelines,
any compression, any processing
that you're gonna need.
You're gonna need all those
same permits as well.
ESEGP1, PNDI, cultural resources,
an emissions permit as well.
And then there's the drilling permit
itself that you have to apply for,
and that's the only one that's really
concerned about the well.
So there's numerous permits
that you have to get,
all in advance before
doing anything.
So our planning cycle is anywhere
from two to three years
in advance of doing any kind
of drilling or completions.
The 2005 bill
didn't create any loophole.
It just kept a huge number
of regulations
where they've always been,
at the state level.
The bill was passed after Republicans
and Democrats supported it.
Even Senator Barack Obama
voted for the legislation.
Just over the hill from Dimock
is the town of Montrose.
There's no moratorium there.
Ron White leased his land
for drilling a few years ago,
and lives right beside
an active gas well.
So where are we now?
What are we sitting in?
- We're sitting on the gas pad.
- That's your farm there?
That's my farm up there, yep.
And so it's just a few hundred yards
from your farm.
400 yards. 1200 feet.
- How do you feel about that?
- I feel good about that.
I can stand at the barn every day
and see what's making money out here.
The dairy industry isn't
too good right now.
Since the gas came along,
this is the best cow on the farm.
I make the most money on this cow and
don't have to buy any grain for her.
It's made things a lot better.
When a tractor breaks or something,
now I don't have to wonder what
I'm gonna do to be able to pay
for a new motor or something.
And we've been able to buy
some newer equipment
to make things a lot easier.
If it wasn't for the natural gas,
we wouldn't still be farming.
Milking cows twice a day,
doing what we love,
it'd be a whole different
ball game, and chances are
I probably wouldn't be
on the farm still.
Everything they told us
was gonna happen has happened.
It might not have happened
exactly or on the same timeline,
but it's happened.
Nothing's happened that's bad.
I can't say a bad thing about it.
- Come on. What about your water?
- Nothing with the water.
They tested our water
before they done anything.
They've tested our water twice after
they've done what they've done,
and the levels of anything
in the water are no different
than they were before.
My cows are drinking the water
out of our pond up there,
and out of the spring out here, and
we're drinking water out of our wells
and it's no different
than it ever was.
A lot of the fracas about fracking
started in the Delaware River Basin.
Josh Fox says he lives there
and was offered a large sum
of money to lease his property.
This started him on his
crusade to ban fracking.
I wanted to hear the story
from the farmers who lived there.
You're gonna grab a hold of
my shoulders. There you go.
Hop on like you're
getting on a horse.
- I've never been on a horse.
- Have you been on a four-wheeler?
No, never.
This your first time
on a four-wheeler too?
- Yeah.
This farm was part of the
Schweighofer family for generations.
My children are actually
the seventh generation.
This is where we live,
and the only way that we
make a living is by farming.
Out of the nursery!
Out of the nursery!
Scare 'em. Scare 'em.
Early in 2007, the land man came
to Wayne County and
began knocking on doors.
I first phoned Marion
and Ed Schweighofer
to see what their
thoughts were onto it,
and we decided, yeah,
that was a good idea to get together.
So then we invited other people
and we had another meeting
at the Damascus Township building,
and had quite a crowd there.
It must have been...
it was jam-packed.
You couldn't get another
person in there, I don't think,
'cause everybody was
interested by this time.
In the process we
formed an organization
called the Northern Wayne
Property Owners Alliance.
It's a loose consortium of around
1100 property owners
who in aggregate own,
control, well over
100,000 acres of property.
One of our biggest things
right from the start
was we wanted it to be safe.
We wanted them to drill,
but we wanted them to drill safe.
As agriculture people and farmers,
we took time to really look
into this.
One of our most precious commodities
is water when you're on a farm.
Everything from making
a gallon of milk
to growing a tomato takes water.
If the gas companies
came in and destroyed our water
and destroyed our land,
all the money in the world
wouldn't be worth it.
Working together,
the farmers designed their own lease,
and after negotiations,
signed with the gas company.
Farmers and the gas industry
can coexist very well together.
It's not a new industry
for farmers
because the gas industry,
the oil industry,
arrived in Pennsylvania
probably 100 years ago.
The lease that was ultimately signed
was the best lease around.
It was used as a model
around the country.
We also had the gas company
say, look, this is something
we're very happy with,
we would like to give this
as a model to some other groups
that we're negotiating with.
As this was building up,
you had Gasland come out,
and as something that
influences opinion,
it was frankly very effective,
in spite of the fact that most of the
content happens to be totally wrong
and has been discredited.
We will not let you
poison our water!
So the folks
that I call the anties,
they began a campaign to
stop all drilling in the area,
and to designate the Delaware River
as the most endangered river
in the United States
due to fracking.
The Delaware River Basin
Commission came into the picture
and basically shut everything down.
This was a shock to all of us,
because what it meant,
everything come to a standstill.
It's just been three years
of pure hell since then
as far as trying to get
something done.
If the moratorium
on gas drilling isn't lifted,
we're gonna see a long haul
of hardship
for this part of the country.
Way back in 1950, there was
1200 farms in the county.
Now there's about 70
in the county.
Upkeep is what kills most farms.
There becomes a time
you've gotta upgrade.
Stuff has to be replaced.
And if the money's not there,
you just can't do it.
If the moratorium stays in place,
I probably won't last
another five years here.
I'll be lucky if
I last another two.
The farms are slowly
going out of business.
They are getting replaced
by houses.
Houses are more wells,
more sewer systems, more traffic.
It's not good for the environment.
Our open space,
our farm fields, our forests,
they're actually
the lungs of the river.
So when it rains and the rain
falls on our open space,
it's filtered, it becomes
part of the aquifer,
part of the water system.
So those people who want
to maintain the beauty
and the pristine bucolic
nature of this area
should in fact be
supporting natural gas
as a way to maintain our forests
and our open space.
This land is part of me.
I fight for years
just trying to hold onto it.
I grew up here.
Why would I want to sell it?
We've owned the land
for 150, 175 years.
It becomes very personal to you.
These fields are here because
my ancestors cleared them.
Everything on this farm
was done by my ancestors.
There is not one farmer
in this area that wants to be the one
that will have to sell
the family farm off.
There is also not
one farmer in this area
that isn't afraid that they
will be the generation
that cannot continue
to make a living on the farm.
We love this land,
and we don't
want anything to happen to it.
Very dear to my heart,
this property.
And I think the gas company
can take care of it
without destroying it.
Are you ready to keep winning?
When I talked to, I think,
a lot of you
in Philadelphia
about two months ago,
and I said, if they come forward with
regulations to frack the Delaware,
we are going to shut them down...
remember that?
And the whole crowd was saying,
"Shut them down!"
Well, you shut them down!
You shut them down
before they got started!
Thank you, Josh!
Thank you, Josh!
Thank you, Josh!
Thank you, Josh!
How could this
have been done to these people?
Thousands of farmers
have had their lives ruined
by a decision made
in a government office
hundreds of miles away
in Trenton, New Jersey.
Carol Collier is
the executive director
of the Delaware
River Basin Commission
which put the moratorium in place.
She seems to have
inappropriate ties to Josh Fox
and the anti-fracking movement.
I've spoken to some
farmers in Wayne County
and, like, Sullivan County.
And they say there is a bias
against the land owners,
that you agreed at one stage to go
to a fundraiser for Gasland
and only withdrew
when they pointed it out.
That was quite a while ago,
but actually
at that point when I was
asked to be on that panel,
I was not told
that it was a fundraiser.
And when I did learn it was
a fundraiser, I did back out.
They told me you didn't go because
they embarrassed you into not going.
They obviously saw how inappropriate,
even though you didn't.
Well, they don't have the whole
story, because what I'm saying is,
that I did not know
it was a fundraiser.
When they informed me it was
a fundraiser, I backed out.
It's fine that you brought this up.
It's cool. I already said "no"
to that, so you know, whatever.
And do you think it's
appropriate that your name
is on the credits of Gasland?
I am very surprised my name
is on those credits.
I did not know it was there.
Josh never asked me.
And if you look at my track record,
and what we've done here...
Well, I'm looking at
your track record here.
It's quite a record, that.
For a public servant.
I fail to see how
significant that is.
Thank you.
Next time I'll check more
on background and credentials.
- Do you want to see my credentials?
- Well...
- Do you have a card?
- Yes.
Are you concerned about
my background?
I'm concerned
about the purpose of the film.
It's to find the truth
about fracking.
Carol Collier, whose actions
are causing hardship
to thousands of families
in the Delaware River Basin,
clearly didn't like
being asked questions.
As I was leaving, she attempted to
have her lawyer confiscate our film.
I don't know what you are here for.
I'm really concerned.
Could I have your film?
I would like the film, please.
You guys.
Thank you.
This was really bad news for the
farmers in the Delaware River Basin.
Josh Fox and powerful
government officials
robbed them of their livelihoods.
And all of this happened because
of the story Josh Fox tells
in the opening
of his film Gasland.
One day I got a letter in the mail.
It was from a natural gas company.
The letter told me
that my land was on top of
a formation called
the Marcellus shale.
I could lease my land
to this company
and I would receive a signing bonus
of $4,750 an acre.
Having 19.5 acres,
that was nearly $100,000
right there in my hand.
But the story wasn't true.
Ironically, when you look
at Gasland and you zoom...
They have a scene where
they're zooming in
on the alleged original lease,
it is our lease.
It is an NWPOA lease
draft that we had written,
and it's blackened out,
but it's ours,
not one that a company offered him.
Marion showed me
how she first noticed that.
The farmer's lease had two
minor typos on the first page,
a double spacing
and a missing quotation mark.
And so did the lease Josh Fox
is holding up in Gasland.
So thousands of journalists
who watched Gasland
and went on to write all those
stories about fracking
never listened to
the farmers pointing out
that the documentary was
misleading from the very start.
The media coverage of the gas
has been so unfair,
so full of half-truths.
Seems to me everything's
been one-sided.
They don't tell you both sides
of the story. You get one side.
It's sort of biased on one side
than the other.
It doesn't reflect the views
necessarily of all the people.
They really have not represented
the local people and the people
who are in favor of it.
The media's constantly saying that
they're destroying the water.
They would have you believe
that Marcellus shale development
was the scourge of the land.
They put a perception
in a lot of people's heads
that every well drilled
is gonna pollute all the time,
and that's ludicrous.
It's almost like, you know,
the media and the litigants all want
chemicals to appear in their water.
It's a lot of sensationalism,
which just,
with very little fact behind it.
There is so much stuff
out there in the media
that to actually go through and try
to combat the misinformation
and fear mongering could
actually be a full-time job.
I thought I should talk to
John Entine, a U.S. media expert.
I was a network television
producer for 20 years
with NBC News, ABC News.
I was Tom Brokaw's producer at NBC
and head of documentaries there.
At ABC I was investigative producer
for 20/20 and Prime Time Live.
And the last 20 years,
in a writing career
that focuses on this nexus
of public policy,
media and NGO advocacy,
is one of the unexamined areas
that creates the kind of narratives,
shapes the ethics of the way
we talk about news issues,
including the whole
shale gas crisis,
if you could so to speak, and the
crisis is really in media coverage,
not in the danger that shale gas
presents to the United States
or the world.
The scary part in this debate
is that the media,
once the influence medias,
The New York Times,
the networks,
they've adopted
the entertainment style of Josh Fox.
It's all about pictures that evoke
this kind of anger and image.
It's like trash journalism.
There was a series of articles
by The New York Times
essentially saying shale
gas was overblown,
that there was a lot of
skepticism within the industry,
that its carbon footprint
was far greater than even coal,
a series, essentially,
that if those things were true,
no reasonable-minded person
could support shale gas.
It was echoed across
the internet,
headlines in newspapers
around the world,
discussed in parliament. Why?
Because when The New York Times
reports something,
the regular media considers that
it's been vetted, that it's factual.
In this case it hadn't been vetted,
and when someone did look at it,
the ombudsman, he was horrified.
He came out with two Sunday
New York Times reports
in two consecutive
New York Times issues,
unprecedented, hadn't been done in
the history of The New York Times,
literally dressing down his own
paper's coverage of natural gas,
saying it was biased,
cherry-picking of the facts,
getting key facts wrong.
Literally, it's the kind of thing
that should have gotten the key
reporters on natural gas fired.
And the only reason they
weren't fired
is because it literally was indicting
the entire editorial department.
So it would have been literally
a major housecleaning
because their coverage
was literally unethical.
You're not overreacting a bit?
I mean this is just...
This is good theatrical journalism.
There's no real-world consequences.
I mean, it's fun to watch.
It may be fun to watch,
may be entertaining,
but there are enormous
public policy consequences.
The goal of the anti-shale
gas industry,
and make no bones about it,
that's what it is,
is to stop shale gas development
now and for the future.
They're not looking
for better regulation.
They're not looking for more
sophisticated technology
to make this more efficient.
They're attempting to stop
progress in its tracks.
Shale gas is a gift from God,
and if we let hysteria
drive regulation,
if we let politicians
essentially set the ground rules
for what should be a
science-driven enterprise,
we're gonna set
the American economy
and the world economy
back 50 years.
Paleolithic era,
that's what we're going for.
James Delingpole is
a British journalist and author
who has written extensively
about energy issues.
Shale gas is the miracle
of the early 21st century.
In terms of safety
and environmental friendliness
and economic efficiency,
shale gas is about the best thing
going in the world right now.
And the only reason,
the only reason
that shale gas is not
developing faster than it is,
particularly in Europe, in America
it's already a great success,
is because of these
disingenuous objections
which are being raised
by the environmental movement,
funded, I would suspect,
by, for example, the Russians,
who are big producers
of natural gas.
I was at a dinner with
Prime Minister Putin recently,
with a group of foreign journalists
and foreign academics
who are invited every year.
He doesn't eat very much.
We all eat, ask him questions,
he answers the questions.
The final question
was about gas,
and particularly about shale gas.
And it was very interesting
to see his reaction,
a real illustration,
I think, of the concern
that shale gas
is causing in Russia
because it was one of
the few moments in the dinner
where Putin really became
quite engaged, almost agitated.
And he said, if you look
at photographs
which have been taken from
a helicopter or a plane
of where this has been done
in the U.S.,
you can see the damage.
And he essentially said,
when people in Europe understand
the implications of this technology
and what it does
to the environment,
then they're not gonna want to do it.
And therefore, it's not
gonna be a threat to us.
And they point to France,
which has already banned it
and say that's just
the first one of many.
And this is somewhat
amusing that suddenly
Russia finds its conscience
about the environment.
At the moment all the countries
in Eastern Europe
are hugely dependent on Russia.
They have very few domestic
resources of their own.
And the European market is the
absolutely crucial market for Gazprom
because that's where it makes
the bulk of its profit.
And of course Putin himself
has very close ties with Gazprom.
In fact, I would say that Russia is
screwed if it can't export its gas,
so it really is very important
for Russia
that the shale gas revolution
does not happen.
It is also in Russia's interest
to fund those environmental
groups which are committed
to campaigning against fracking.
That's how it works.
I'll give you one example.
Poland is currently
a net importer of gas.
Where does that gas come from?
It comes from Russia.
The problem with relying
on Russia for gas
is that Russia now has
a proven history
of using gas as a kind of tool,
or rather blunt instrument
of diplomacy.
A natural gas crisis
looming over Europe
has taken a sharp turn
for the worse.
A contract dispute between
Russia and Ukraine
has left several cities without
natural gas in the dead of winter.
Without prior warning, gas supplies
to some EU member states
have been substantially cut.
This situation is
completely unacceptable.
Even in the Cold War, Russia
never cut off gas supplies to Europe,
but under Mr. Putin they have
twice done so in recent years.
So the prospect of
becoming gas producers
for these countries is
a very attractive one indeed.
You go to Poland,
you hear a lot about it.
In Warsaw,
the huge Soviet block houses
are a very concrete reminder
of the grip
Russia has had on Poland
for centuries.
But even though their troops
are no longer on Polish soil,
as the main supplier of
most of the country's gas,
Russia still controls
the Polish people.
I met up with Sabina, a pensioner
who fought in World War II
and survived the Cold War.
Today she spends half
her pension on energy,
and that money goes to Gazprom.
It's like the Soviets never left.
So that's your gas?
Three-hundred and seventy-seven.
Your electricity is 266.
Your pension is 800.
So, your pension is 800.
Your electricity bill is 266.
Your gas bill is 377.
It doesn't leave much money.
How do you feel
when the gas bill comes?
But anti-fracking activists
like Josh Fox
say economic prosperity
counts for nothing
if you don't have your health.
I want to tell you that I got a call
from Chris Payne,
the amazing director of
Who Killed the Electric Car
and The Revenge
of the Electric Car.
And he said, "They're
fracking in Baldwin Hills."
It's like over the...
over the... bend from me.
And there's a big public park
over there.
So you have a little kid, Little League,
playing in noxious fumes
that we experienced today,
gave us quite, you know,
immediate headaches and nausea
from being in the park.
I live in Los Angeles.
And this is the first time I've heard
of people getting sick
in Baldwin Hills.
After coming up to the top
of Baldwin Hills Overlook
and going back down,
finishing my workout, I feel great.
It's wonderful, fresh.
You can really rejuvenate yourself.
It's just fresh air. You can breathe
good, you know what I mean?
It's fresh, it feels clean,
like you're close to heaven.
The air quality is great.
Every time I come here
I almost feel like I can fly
just like Superman!
And Josh Fox makes the same kind
of dramatic claims
about Dish, Texas.
They have 10 billion cubic feet going
through Dish, Texas every day
with 10 pipelines that
crisscross the state.
And they have benzene in the air
at 55 times the public
health standard.
And they have toxic emissions
that float into people's homes,
give them nosebleeds in the middle of
the night, give them brain damage.
And Calvin Tillman's two sons
are waking up in the middle
of the night with nosebleeds.
Calvin Tillman has been
the mayor of Dish for three years.
He says the people in the town
began to notice a strong odor
and were also experiencing
some side effects
that he attributes
to the air quality,
things like nausea, headaches,
runny nose, allergies, and more.
Calvin Tillman was so frustrated
with the TCEQ's inaction
that he commissioned
his own air study.
The results read sort of like
the back of a pamphlet
that you don't want to pick up
at the American Cancer Society.
Study found, and I quote,
"Amazing and very high levels
of known and suspected human
carcinogens and neurotoxins."
But were these claims true?
The Texas Commission on
Environmental Quality
is the second largest environmental
agency in the world behind the EPA.
We've been to Dish I believe
over 120 times
on individual sampling trips
or monitoring trips
and collected over 50
VOC canisters,
which we ran through
a gas chromatograph.
And I'm happy to say that
of all of those samples
that we've conducted
and collected and analyzed,
none of those exceeded the
short-term concentration levels
that would cause concern.
After the air quality
was given the all-clear,
the health department sampled
blood, urine,
and drinking water in the area
and found no problems
caused by fracking.
So it's comforting to see we have
a great deal of data from Dish
and from the Barnett shale region
that shows that indeed
our regulations are protective,
especially when you consider
that it's such a concentrated
production field in that area.
But some people still claim
that fracking contaminated
their water and made them sick,
like Stephen Lipsky
from Parker County, Texas.
He sued for Range Resources
for $6.5 million.
Lipsky teamed up with Alisa Rich of
Wolf Eagle Environmental Engineers
to produce a video
of flaming water
and a set of test results supporting
his case against the gas company.
But the video was faked.
They intentionally pumped gas
into the water line
in order to set it on fire.
The judge ruled
that Stephen Lipsky
and Alisa Rich had conspired
to produce false evidence,
and Alisa Rich's claims that
she was an engineer and had a PhD
were also fraudulent.
In line 13 it says, "I have a PhD
in air pollution control design."
- Do you see that?
- I do, sir.
That was just not a true statement
at the time you made that, was it?
That was a misstatement.
- You are not an engineer, are you?
- No, sir, I am not.
- You're not a geologist?
- No, sir.
You're not a geophysicist?
No, I would not consider
myself a geophysicist.
You're not a petroleum engineer?
I am not a petroleum engineer.
- You're not a toxicologist?
- No, sir.
You're not a hydrogeologist?
No. No, I am not
a hydrogeologist, technically.
We deal a lot in hydrology,
just like we deal a lot in geology,
but I would not call myself
a hydrogeologist.
This wasn't the first time
I'd come across Alisa Rich.
She was also hired
by Calvin Tillman
to provide the damning
but completely inaccurate reports
on the air and water quality
in Dish, Texas.
Despite faking her qualifications,
and a judge finding that she was part
of a fraudulent conspiracy,
Josh Fox still relies
heavily on Alisa Rich
in his campaign against fracking.
But what about the chemicals
that are used in fracking?
I needed to speak to an expert.
So I went to the University
of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Bruce Ames is a professor of
biochemistry and molecular biology.
Because of his research
on the causes of cancer,
Dr. Ames has won many awards,
including the National Medal
of Science, the Japan Prize,
and the Tyler Prize for
Environmental Achievement.
He is one of the most cited
scientists in the world.
This is Gasland,
the film by Josh Fox,
and this is what he says
about chemicals and fracking
and public health, I suppose.
In order to frack,
you need some fracking fluid,
a mix of over 596 chemicals,
from the unpronounceable
to the unknown
to the too well-known.
The brew is full
of corrosion inhibitors,
gellants, drilling additives,
biocides, shale control inhibitors,
liquid breaker aids, viscosifiers,
liquid gel concentrates.
On the side of that frack fluid truck
it should say, "Just add water."
Well, you could say that about a cup
of coffee with more justification.
I mean, it doesn't tell you much.
What would you say
to people who saw Gasland
and are scared by that figure
of over 500 chemicals
and the scary names
of the chemicals?
Yeah, but it's only scary
if you've been...
don't know anything.
If I gave you all the long names
of chemicals in cabbage
that give cancer to rats
in high levels,
you could get scared. But there's
really no danger in eating cabbage.
But at least there's no
carcinogens in broccoli.
Oh, yeah, there are
carcinogens in broccoli.
- No!
- Yeah.
- No.
- Broccoli's good for you,
but there are carcinogens in it.
See, they define carcinogen
as giving the maximum tolerated
dose to a mouse or a rat,
and feeding it every day
for a lifetime.
And half the chemicals
they've ever tested,
whether it's natural or synthetic,
no difference,
give cancer to these
animals at this huge dose,
but it doesn't mean it's gonna
give cancer at a low dose.
And it's all a high-dose artifact.
What do you mean, "high-dose
artifact"? What does that mean?
It means it's the high dose
that's causing it,
and they're scaring you
about a low dose.
But scare stories sell newspapers.
The media loves scare stories.
Every time I see a story
about some new scare that's
gonna give cancer to people,
it's always completely implausible.
It's a minor hypothetical risk
at best.
If people say fracking's
causing cancer,
then they don't know what
they're talking about.
Josh Fox claims
that fracking in Texas
has caused a spike
in breast cancer.
In Texas, as throughout
the United States,
cancer rates fell, except in one
place, in the Barnett shale.
But the Associated Press
checked that claim
with several cancer experts
and found it to be false.
Professor Simon Lee from
the University of Texas,
David Riser, an epidemiologist
with the Texas Cancer Registry,
and Susan G. Komen For The Cure,
all said there was no spike
in cancer in the Barnett shale.
Scaring American families with untrue
claims about breast cancer
seemed unethical journalism
at best.
After I retired, I started
to spend essentially full-time
in Damascus, Pennsylvania.
I'm currently facing
a cancer situation.
Okay, that was one of the reasons
why I'm in New York right now.
Because I'm scheduled
for surgery in two weeks.
It has nothing to do
with drinking the water.
It has nothing to do
with the air I breathe.
I could be out there right now
carrying a sign saying,
"I've got cancer. I'm fighting
against this. You caused it.
Don't let this happen to you."
I couldn't look at myself
in the mirror in the morning
'cause that's nonsense.
But it would be very effective
as some political theater.
The scare du jour
from anti-fracking activists
is that fracking causes
dangerous earthquakes.
I spoke to Professor Ernest Majer
in the Department of
Earth Sciences at Berkeley.
He has spent a career
analyzing the role humans play
in causing earthquakes.
He says if you're scared
about seismic activity,
fracking should be the least
of your worries.
If I had a house where I had
every type of energy potential,
a river so I could dam up
and make a hydroelectric project,
geothermal, hot rock,
on the other side of the house,
and an oil/gas reservoir
on the other side,
I would probably, from a just strict
risk of induced seismicity,
I would choose the oil
and gas project, of course,
because it has the lowest
potential for induced seismicity
to cause any hazard or any risk
associated with the injection
of fluid into the ground.
Hydrofracture is very low-risk.
Very low hazard too.
Professor Majer says
if energy production
that causes earthquakes
needs to be banned,
then geothermal energy
should be first on the list.
He has been closely studying
the Geysers geothermal plant
- in Northern California.
- In terms of the Geysers,
which is north of
San Francisco, about 70 miles,
it's the world's largest
geothermal production area.
And there has been
seismicity there.
There has been quite a bit
of seismicity there.
We're actively recording there
with a very dense array.
We get about 100 magnitude
ones per day,
up to 10 magnitude
twos per week,
and at least two or three
magnitude threes per month.
And several magnitude fours per year.
It's interesting that while
Josh Fox and anti-fracking activists
are trying to make an issue
about fracking and earthquakes,
they are silent about the hundreds
of earthquakes caused every month
by geothermal energy.
In Gasland, Josh Fox asks,
why can't we power
the world with solar panels?
But you need huge amounts of rare
earth metals to make one solar panel.
95 % of these minerals
are mined in China.
It doesn't look very green.
Rare earth processing in China
is a messy, dangerous,
polluting business.
It uses toxic chemicals,
acids, sulfates, ammonia.
The workers have little
or no protection.
Green campaigners
love wind turbines,
but the permanent
magnets used to
manufacture a three-megawatt
contain some two tons
of rare earth.
And wind turbines.
They are massive, 24/7,
ruthless bird-killing machines.
They don't care if the birds
are endangered or not.
The problem with these people that
continually promote renewable energy
is I think none of them
own a calculator.
Let me run you through the numbers.
If you just look at the growth
in electricity demand
from 1985 through 2011,
on average, electricity demand
globally increased
by 450 terawatt hours.
That's 450 trillion watt hours.
If you just wanted to supply
the incremental demand
of that 450 terawatt hours per year,
you would have to
cover a land area
of about 100 square miles
every day,
with nothing but wind turbines.
I was back on the road
when I heard some breaking news
about Dimock, Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Department
of Environmental Protection
had tested the water in Dimock,
including the well
of Craig and Julie Sautner.
environmental agency
tells CBS news, "There
is no evidence in Pennsylvania"
of fracking ever having
contaminated drinking water."
However, that wasn't
good enough for Craig and Julie Sautner.
They insisted the federal Environmental
Protection Agency investigate.
The EPA agreed,
and started a comprehensive testing
of Dimock's water wells.
Federal officials have released
a fourth round of results
from well-water testing
in the Dimock area.
The Environmental Protection Agency
says it did not find any alarming
results from 12 more wells
it tested earlier this year.
So 1500 people in Dimock
said their water was fine.
Pennsylvania's Department
of Environmental Protection
confirmed this.
And now the EPA has announced there's
nothing wrong with the water.
I decided to ask the Sautners if they
would now drop their lawsuit.
I was half a mile away
from the Sautners' house.
I was on the phone,
calling them for an interview
when Julie Sautner saw me
and drove up.
- That's her.
- That's her.
Well, how's it going?
We just wanted to ask
you a quick few questions.
The people are very upset
you saying the water's dirty.
Do you agree the water is dirty?
But the EPA says
the water is clean now.
They said there's no
contamination in the water.
Is there contamination
in your water?
What did the EPA
say about your water?
I just want to find the truth.
Why would we be sued?
What are we lying about?
Why do you not want
to be filmed?
You've given hundreds of
interviews to people.
But I want to know what the EPA
have said about your well.
Will you give me the results
of your well?
Why not? I'm just
asking you the truth.
You're involved in a very public
lawsuit. You've given interviews.
You've said your well is
contaminated. The EPA has said...
I'll drink your water now.
Would you bring it down?
You've got this brown water. Can we
go get some of your brown water?
Ls that brown water just a prop?
Ls your water actually
brown at the moment?
Let's go to the well now.
Let's go to the well
now and get...
With your permission.
Please do.
You're armed?
Well, I'm not
getting involved now.
What are you reaching for
there now? Oh, okay.
Well, I'm not harassing you
in any way. You stopped...
I was standing here.
You stopped to talk to me.
That's, what's...
Are you declining
an interview? Julie?
Are you declining to
show me the results?
I just want to get that officially.
Are you declining to
show me the results?
- How's it going?
- Put your hands where I can see.
What's going on?
- We're making a documentary.
- Okay.
- Do you have any ID on you?
- Yeah. Sure.
Were you on her property?
No, I was on the public road there
on a phone and she pulled up.
I actually was standing on the road
and she pulled up and
we had this conversation
while she was in her car.
All right. Did you say you were
gonna take water from her house
without her permission
or something?
No, I asked her
to provide me with water.
Oh, you just asked her if she would
voluntarily provide you with water?
- Yes.
- Okay, all right.
So you never said anything about,
I'm gonna come on your property
and take your water when you're
gone or something like that?
- Absolutely not.
- Okay.
Okay, all right.
Okay, I'm just gonna...
- Did she say that?
- Yes. So that's why I'm here.
What was Julie Sautner
trying to hide?
Why would she not release the
findings of the EPA's water testing?
A source told me that three senior
EPA officials had given her
the results
and that the meeting was filmed.
Through a Freedom of
information request,
I managed to get hold of the tape.
It showed the EPA
telling the Sautners
that their water
was not contaminated.
Their reaction to this good news
was rather strange.
Oh, my God,
I just can't believe you people!
She's discussed us with everybody.
She's got a problem.
- That's... lookit...
- No, I'm...
- Right here...
- Sit down...
I'm not sitting anywhere.
I'm done with this. I am.
- Right here.
- You can finish this.
I'm done. I'm getting myself
too upset for this shit!
No, this is bullcrap, man!
I'm sick and tired of this!
What happened to you people?
- Listen...
- You guys aren't the same
as you were two months ago,
three months ago.
You think I made this stuff up?
This is... this is...
this... you're out of here?
Yeah. I'm not gonna...
this is getting...
if you want to sit down
and talk rationally to me...
How can I talk rationally if you guys
won't listen to anything we say?
- I'm listening to you...
- You're saying my water's fine!
And we can drink it!
We're telling you
we tested your water.
At this point in time we found
no contaminants in it.
by people like the Sautners
bring bans and moratoriums
on fracking around the world.
These bans have consequences,
because energy really matters.
We all love energy,
even if we don't realize we do.
Just think about all
the things you love.
Your friends,
lazy afternoons together,
experimenting with the latest recipe,
new ideas, solving
the world's problems,
capturing moments,
making your voices heard.
We might not realize it, but we'd
really hate not having energy.
We'd die not having it.
We can see the places in the world
with lots of cheap energy.
They're the places
with their lights on.
In these countries,
people live long and live well.
These lights mean millions of people
get to follow their dreams.
Somewhere behind one of these lights,
a child is studying hard,
and will grow up to invent
the next medical miracle.
Somewhere else there's a
Steve Jobs creating the things
we can't even imagine right now.
And somewhere else there's
a kid who will one day
write and make a movie
like Avatar
that nearly the whole world
will watch and enjoy.
But it's not like this everywhere.
In the dark places,
energy is scarce,
and life is cruel
and life is short.
People who live there can only dream
of what life could be like.
But their dreams will
never come true.
Energy has allowed my friend Bart
to save his childhood friend's life.
Bart donated his kidney to Linc
in an operation that used outrageous
amounts of electricity.
That electricity, that energy,
and Bart's astonishing generosity,
saved Linc from certain death
and gave Claire and Lucy
back their father
and Laurie back her husband.
Energy matters.
It really matters.
It makes everything better.
It's not at all ordinary.
We take it for granted because we
have never known life without it.
We really shouldn't.
This has been quite a journey.
I discovered a lot.
Josh Fox was wrong
about fracking.
It didn't make water flammable.
It's not exempt from
environmental regulations.
It doesn't contaminate water.
Fracking is not causing
dangerous earthquakes,
and it's not causing
widespread illness and death.
All those wrongs affected the lives
of a lot of ordinary people.
I thought it was time to put
some questions to Josh Fox.
- Hello?
- Hi, is that Josh?
- Yes.
- Hi, Josh, this is
Phelim McAleer, the director
of FrackNation documentary.
Hey, this is Josh Fox.
Please leave me a message.
Thanks very much. Bye.
Hi, Josh, this is Phelim McAleer,
the director of FrackNation.
I have just tried
to call you there
and I'm not sure what happened.
I think maybe you hung up on me,
but I really want to do an interview
with you for FrackNation.
I've uncovered some things that...
I left a number of messages.
I got no response.
He seemed to want
to avoid my questions.
But then I heard Josh Fox
was appearing
at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.
This was going to be my chance
to get some answers.
Josh, Phelim McAleer.
You hung up on me the other day.
There's a lot of questions
I've come across.
I'm just looking for an interview.
You don't want to answer questions?
The farmers of
Pennsylvania would like
to also ask you some questions.
As a journalist, would you
not be interested
in answering a few questions?
Hey, what are you doing?
What are you doing?
I'm gonna ask you to
please leave the property.
You are asked to leave.
You are asked to leave.
Josh, what about the water in Dimock?
Ls the water clean in Dimock?
There's blood.
She stole it. She stole
the phone from my hand.
Like she just... I had to fight her
to get my phone back.
She did that to you?
Yeah, she snatched
the phone from my hand.
I had to fight her
to get my phone back.
She took it from you?
Yeah, because I was filming
a public event in Hammer Museum.
And that's the wound!
So there is, you know,
there will be blood!
- There will be blood.
- Yeah.