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GASLAND: Don’t Drink The Water

Filmmaker Josh Fox blows the whistle on drilling with his mind-blowing documentary.

Words: Shabe Allah
Images: Courtesy of Josh Fox and the Wow Company

When Josh Fox was asked to lease his land in order to make way for natural gas drilling, he did a little more than just ask a few questions.

In more than a dozen Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states of America, contaminated water sources have sent residents into a frenzy. Enter Gasland, a tell-all documentary that takes viewers on a nightmarish journey through the affected communities and the companies at the center of the natural gas drilling crisis, while lending an insider’s view of the government’s apathetic take on the devastating effects of the hazardous process.

Documentary filmmaker Josh Fox delves into the daily operations of gas companies that use hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” to find natural gas reserves in a last minute, yet futile attempt to become independent of foreign oil and other natural resources. Even though it’s well known that fracking can contaminate nearby water wells, the gas companies will not discontinue its practice and the U.S. government has no intention on holding anyone responsible.

Gasland shows America’s stance on industry versus the individual and how the business of natural gas trumps the health status of the country’s citizens. In 1974, Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act to ensure clean drinking water free of natural and man-made contaminates. However, in 2005, the Bush/Cheney administration exempted the gas companies who use these fracking methods to drill for gas, which poisons the tap water that runs through millions of households.

How does this happen? In laymen’s terms, the fracking fluids leak into the water wells, which are on average, 1,000 ft. deep. During hydraulic fracturing, an 8,000 ft. well is drilled and millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals including benzene, ethyl benzene and xylene are blasted into the earth, making drinking water literally flammable in parts of Pennsylvania. Besides running the risk of drinking firewater, people who have ingested water from these contaminated wells over a period of time began to develop reproductive and immune system dysfunctions. Testicular toxicity in men, malformation of the embryo in women, bone marrow depression and even destruction of the red blood cells are just a few of the health risks that Fox’s Sundance Award-winning docudrama reveals.

Through his travels to various states and finding out that some homes had to be evacuated because their water had become explosive hazards, Fox’s film effortlessly exposes the callousness of both the gas industry and the government, who seem to be working hand and hand at the cost of American citizens’ lives by any means necessary. In the land that is known as the “Saudi Arabia of natural gas” (read America), Josh Fox has started a jihad.

Images Courtesy of Josh Fox and the Wow Company.

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