Gasland Review

Gasland

Cast: Josh Fox
Director: Josh Fox
Genre: Drama
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 110 minutes

WINNER 2010 Sundance International Film Festival Special Jury Prize for Documentary
WINNER 2010 Sarasota International Film Festival Special Jury Prize.
WINNER 2010 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival Artistic Vision award.
OFFICIAL SELECTION 2010 Sydney International Film Festival

Synopsis: In September 2006, theatre director and part-time banjo player Josh Fox received an unexpected letter in the mail: a natural gas company offering him $100 000 for permission to explore his family's upstate New York property, in the lush Delaware River Basin area. Rather than join many of his neighbours in signing on the dotted line, Josh's curiosity saw him asking questions. He soon discovered that in the race for 'cleaner', greener & more efficient energy sources, the largest natural gas drilling boom in history is sweeping the globe, and in the US, the Halliburton-led drilling technology of hydraulic fracturing (or 'fracking') has unlocked a "Saudi Arabia of natural gas".

So Josh picked up his camcorder, and set out on a journey across America's heartland. His personal concerns quickly uncover global ones, as the citizens of 'GasLand' testify to what's been happening around them: toxic streams, ruined aquifers, dying livestock, shocking illnesses and tap water that bursts into flames. It becomes evident that the multi-million dollar business of fracking has contaminated the water supply, the corporate giants are in cover-up mode, and the PR-spun government has not only turned a blind eye, it has regulated itself out of the picture…

Part vérité travelogue, part expose, part mystery, part showdown, GasLand is a compelling and emotional first-person story of discovery and, ultimately, empowerment. Rough-hewn yet poetic, the film is a desperate plea for scrutiny of a powerful industry that has now turned its eyes on a new, massive and largely unexplored territory: Australia.

GasLand was awarded the Special Jury Prize for Documentary at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, and voted the best competition film of any section by indieWIRE's Sundance Critics Poll.

Release Date: 18th November, 2010
Website: www.gasland.com.au

Screening at Palace Films

GasLand Background
When filmmaker Josh Fox discovers that Natural Gas drilling is coming to his area - the Catskillls/Poconos region of Upstate New York and Pennsylvania - he sets off on a 24-state journey to uncover the deep consequences of the United States' natural gas drilling boom. What he uncovers is truly shocking-water that can be lit on fire right out of the sink, chronically ill residents of drilling areas from disparate locations in the US all with the same mysterious symptoms, pools of toxic waste that kill cattle and vegetation, well blowouts and gas explosions covered up by state and federal regulatory agencies.

The United States and major energy companies are currently conducting the largest domestic natural gas drilling campaign in history, now occupying 34 states. A major upswing in production took place in 2005 when the Congress and the Bush Administration exempted the industry and its new process of drilling, "Hydraulic Fracturing" from the Safe Drinking Water Act and many of America's primary environmental protection laws. While the PR campaign for the natural gas industry promotes its product as "clean burning" it hides the fact that the new form of drilling, pioneered by Halliburton, is incredibly harmful to the environment and threatens to permanently contaminate a huge amount of the water supply, create drastic air pollution conditions, and despoil huge areas. Despite overwhelming evidence of contamination, mismanagement and corruption, the general public remains unaware of the extreme effect the drilling may have on their lives.

In their travels, Josh and his banjo encounter EPA whistleblowers, congressmen, world recognised scientists, and incredible stories of ordinary people fighting against fossil fuel giants for environmental justice.

Exemptions
After decades of well-funded lobbying, the natural gas industry is exempt from key provisions of most of America's environmental regulations. These include: Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation & Recovery Act, Right-to-Know Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, or the Superfund law). Most recently, the 2005 Energy Policy Act exempted "hydro-fracking" from the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).

The consequences of this deregulation is explored in GASLAND.

The Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act (H.R. 2766), (S. 1215)-was introduced to both houses of the United States Congress on June 9, 2009, and aims to repeal the exemption for hydraulic fracturing in the Safe Drinking Water Act. It would require the energy industry to disclose the chemicals it mixes with the water and sand it pumps underground in the hydraulic fracturing process (also known as fracking), information that has largely been protected as trade secrets. Controversy surrounds the practice of hydraulic fracturing as a threat to drinking water supplies. The gas industry opposes the legislation. The House bill was introduced by representatives Diana DeGette, D-Colo., Maurice Hinchey D-N.Y., and Jared Polis, D-Colo. The Senate version was introduced by senators Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.



 




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