Documenting a Deep Problem

Movie still from Josh Fox's documentary Gasland.

Movie still from Josh Fox's documentary Gasland.

This morning, the Academy named Gasland, Josh Fox's documentary about the controversy surrounding natural gas drilling, as an Oscar nominee for Best Documentary. Like Fox, we've been trying to make sense of the environmental toll this practice is taking on our neighbors. We explored both sides of the issue in a recent episode of Distillations.

As our home base is in Pennsylvania, we hear a lot about the debate over fracking, an extraction process that is used nearby to break open the natural gas-rich Marcellus Shale located deep in the earth. This effort is often championed as a means towards economic revitalization and energy independence. But just as often it is linked to environmental devastation and industry corruption.

Debates between neighbors on whether or not to let gas companies drill on their land are tearing communities apart. States are now evaluating where they stand on the matter. For instance, last month New York Governor David Paterson issued a moratorium on the drilling until its risks can be fully assessed.

I'm pleased to hear Gasland is being recognized by the Academy. As a result, I hope more people will be aware of an issue those of us here find to be a big fracking deal—and will be for many years to come.

Posted In: Policy | Technology

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