"Gasland's" Oscar in Jeopardy?


Thirsty? An image from the documentary Gasland depicts the dangers of fracking.

Of the worthy films up for Best Documentary at the Academy Awards this year, two focus on environmental issues. Though much interest involves British guerilla street artist, Banksy, showing up in a monkey mask for his Exit Through the Gift Shop, another film about an artist,Waste Land, shows Vik Muniz's inspiring transformation of deplorable conditions in a Brazilian landfill. Yet the other eco-doc among the five nominees, Gasland, could have its chance of winning an Oscar sabotaged by the gas industry for exposing the frightful effects of hydro-fracking. Gasland debuted at last year's Sundance Film Festival, as I wrote about previously, and developments with Josh Fox's film have been discussed in Treehugger before -- about how the "fracking" method of drilling for natural gas with pressurized water and chemicals contaminates groundwater. The award winner has been praised by critics and raised awareness, so not surprisingly, the gas industry's attacks on the film now call its Oscar nomination into question.

Energy In Depth, a group sponsored by a coalition of natural gas companies, sent a letter to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, asking that Gasland be eliminated, claiming the film falsified facts and should not qualify as a documentary. Fox responded with a detailed rebuttal on his website last July and posted a letter on Facebook on February 7 about this latest effort to discredit his film.


What the frack? Josh Fox's factoids explain the grim reality of gas leaking into the watertable.

In its effort to question Gasland's evidence (such as kitchen sink faucets catching on fire), Jim Smith, a spokesman for the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York, which helps fund Energy in Depth, stated, "It was clearly an opinion piece, entirely fiction," according to a report in NYCity news wire. What might be an alternative energy source to oil is what's in jeopardy - not Gasland's status as a documentary, whether it takes the Oscar or not.

But in December, New York State banned horizontal hydro-fracking until extensive environmental studies are completed by the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Fox continues his campaign for an end to hydro-fracking, recently screening the film at NYU. He's encouraged by "great things that have happened" and "acts of courage," despite the gas industry's opposition. "They're not going to be able to spin their way out of this with PR money."

What your own screening? Contact Fox or pick up Gasland, now available on DVD.

Source: NYCity wire
More on fracking:
Natural Gas Far Less Green Than Claimed - Fracking Emissions 1000s Times Higher Than Reported: EPA
Under Half of Americans Are Aware of Fracking, But Those That Are, Are Very Concerned
Gas Companies Illegally Using Diesel Fuel for Fracking

Tags: Documentaries | Drinking Water | Utilities

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