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Natural Gas, A Burning Issue

July 27, 2012

Gasland is a 107-minute-long video purporting to demonstrate that fracking is dangerous. It received wide viewing in the United States and Europe. Viewers were aghast at water being set on fire.

Now, the video Truthland has been produced to demonstrate that nearly everything in Gasland is wrong or deliberately misleading.

Truthland can be viewed at

Truthland is centered on a family in Montrose, Pennsylvania, seeking answers to whether fracking is dangerous. The setting is obviously contrived, but the family and its search for truth are real.

One of the more interesting scenes in the movie comes within the first two minutes of the 35-minute video.

It shows a babbling brook that contains natural gas in the water naturally, flowing down a hillside with a person lighting the gas at the surface of the water. The scene demonstrated that the show stopper in the Gasland movie, where gas from a water faucet is set on fire, could be a natural event unrelated to fracking.

Truthland has another scene showing a homeowner in Colorado, where there has been no drilling, also lighting the natural gas coming from his water faucet. To add some humor, the owner mentions that the real estate agent had told him not to light a cigarette in the shower.

The movie has interviews with various experts, including environmentalists, where each expert explains why Gasland is either wrong or misleading.

Truthland contains a demonstration showing the integrity of well construction.

Truthland also highlights the errors made by the EPA in Pavillion, Wyoming, where the media claimed the EPA had proven that fracking caused contamination of water wells.

The March 2, 2012 article, Fracking Indictment has details of the Pavillion situation.

There is a scene in Truthland where Lisa Jackson, head of the EPA, admits that fracking has not contaminated water wells.

It’s amazing that Gasland is called a documentary when it contains so many errors and misleading scenes. Gasland also received the Sundance Film Festival, Special Jury Prize – U.S. Documentary, which may say more about the Sundance Film Festival than the movie.

It will be interesting to see whether the film industry gives an award to Truthland.

Truthland is not very exciting, but facts often aren’t as exciting as fiction.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 27, 2012 2:07 pm

    What is wrong with Truthland?
    The gas industry and Energy in Depth’s reason for making this movie is to debunk what it says are false claims made by Josh Fox in the Oscar nominated film “Gasland”, that taps can’t be lit on fire because of gas drilling causing methane migration, because the methane has always been there. No one is denying that there is naturally occurring methane in Pennsylvania and other parts of the country. The industry itself does not deny that drilling causes methane migration into aquifers, just Energy in Depth, the lobby group who produced the movie. I personally have videotaped a tap lighting on fire because of drilling in a woman’s backyard with newspaper reporters standing right next to me in this video.
    The whole premise of this video is that Shelly DePue watched “Gasland” with her family and decided to go across country to look for the truth. This is made up. She admits this at 8:10 in this video. The gas industry found her through a land owners group and asked her to be in the video, not how it is portrayed in the film. Nothing like accusing someone of making stuff up by making stuff up. It negates the whole point.
    The second glaring problem is that the woman in the video goes around the country talking to experts that tell her that the well casings in gas drilling are safe and do not leak. What is not mentioned in the video is that after filming, one of the 10 wells on her property was found leaking and bubbling methane. Here is the link to the Inspection Report on that well.
    The third problem is that in the family makes a list of questions for Shelly to ask the experts including: “Do the gas companies follow the rules?” Apparently not. There was a 10 barrel oil based mud spill at the families well pad that WPX did not report.
    The forth issue is that Dr. Engleder implies that dish detergent is the only other substance in frack fluid besides water. Hmmm. Then says Josh’s Gasland is full of innuendo. Hmmm. I don’t recall hydrochloric acid in my dish detergent. See link
    He goes on to imply there has never been any problems with wells drilled in the last 50 years. What about all the abandoned and old wells in PA I see on YouTube with the bubbling methane?

    In the video, Loren Salsman gives Shelly a nice glass of Dimock water and they drink up. What is not shown or mentioned in the video is that the water goes through an elaborate filter system provided by Cabot Oil and Gas, the gas company responsible for the methane migration in his well.

    Also, the company WXP Energy, who drilled the well, is being sued by a neighbor for possible water contamination. An investigation is under way. Here is a video about the neighbors.

  2. July 27, 2012 4:14 pm

    Thanks for your comments.
    I agree that the set-up is contrived. Obviously the movie isn’t a spontaneous outpouring of activity by the family.
    The fact is, fracking has never, as of yet, been identified as having caused contamination. Even the EPA agrees. Everybody agrees that old gas wells that haven’t been properly sealed or encased could cause gas to migrate. But this isn’t from fracking.
    The EPA has ruled that the Dimock wells were not contaminated from fracking.
    Here is what the EPA reported:
    “The sampling and an evaluation of the particular circumstances at each home did not indicate levels of contaminants that would give EPA reason to take further action,” Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin said on July 25. “Throughout EPA’s work in Dimock, the agency has used the best available scientific data to provide clarity to Dimock residents and address their concerns about the safety of their drinking water.”
    As for a 10 barrel mud spill at the pad, it’s not because of fracking. I am certain that accidents occur where mud is spilled at wells being drilled, whether they are oil wells or gas wells.
    The comment in Truthland about dish detergents correctly identified a class of chemicals used in fracking. Obviously there are other chemicals, and the video mentions where to obtain a list of chemicals commonly used in fracking. For the most part, no one is hiding which chemicals are being used
    It’s also important to note that these chemicals cannot migrate from the shale, where fracking has occurred, to the water table.
    The only way the chemicals can cause a problem is if the water that’s removed from the well after fracking, is spilled. At least half the water remains in the well, with the remaining amount removed. There have been instances where there have been spills, but for the most part the millions of gallons of used water have been disposed of safely.
    I watched your videos that you linked in your comment, and I encourage others to watch them also.
    For example, your video makes it clear that drilling causes the land to be disturbed at the drilling site. What you don’t show is how little real damage is done when the drilling is finished and the well is completed. The flaring you show so dramatically, is temporary and is a safe way to get rid of the methane until the pipeline is installed. The heavy truck traffic is common while drilling is being done, and has caused damage to roads. The question is how to get the roads repaired if needed? To fix the roads in Texas, it would require using about one-third of the royalties, paid to the state by the gas companies. (See the WSJ article on the subject July 26, 2012.)
    The organization of which you are a part is trying to prevent drilling and your videos demonstrate that. I will help you by mentioning that you forgot to show that fracking can cause earthquakes. That should help you scare people.
    There’s no question Truthland takes a favorable view of fracking. Truthland clearly shows that Gasland was inaccurate and misleading.
    The facts are clear:
    • Fracking does not contaminate the aquifer.
    • There have been no proven examples of where fracking has caused methane to invade water wells.
    • The EPA has cleared the Dimock wells of being contaminated.
    • Fracking has created a surplus of natural gas that is allowing the revitalization of the chemical industry, creating jobs across the country and producing electricity at low cost.

  3. July 30, 2012 12:00 am

    Re-posting. Thanks Donn.

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