Punctuated by first hand accounts of health problems caused by fouled air and water and scary stunts by homeowners across the country setting their polluted tapwater on fire, the film “Gasland”, an Academy Award nominee, documents the dirty production side of what’s marketed as clean natural gas.
On Tuesday evening, about seventy five people attended a showing of the banjo-playing filmmaker Josh Fox’s movie at the Germantown Jewish Center, organized by the synagogue, Weavers Way, the Neighborhood Interfaith Movement and the Unitarian Society of Germantown.
Afterwards. a panel of scientists and directly affected individuals and activists from the Marcellus Shale region of upstate Pennsylvania described the adverse health and environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas (“fracking” in common parlance, “frac jobs” in industry terms). SEE PANELIST INFORMATION BELOW
It’s a process that injects water combined with several of some hundreds of available chemicals, many known toxins such as benzene, at high pressure, to release the gas. Developed by former Vice President Dick Cheney’s Haliburton company, fracking was exempted from the Safe Drinking Water act by the 2005 Energy Policy Act.
Under newly elected Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, it appears to be open season for the drilling of new wells in Pennsylvania which may extend into the watershed area which is the source of drinking water in Philadelphia. This is cause for serious local concern as expressed by Linda Cherkas, a Mount Airyite attending the filming and the subject of a Philadelphia city council forum the very same evening.
After the showing, attendees flocked to tables to sign letters urging President Obama, who voted for the 2005 Energy Act, to direct his representative on the Delaware River Basin Commission to vote against finalizing draft rules on gas drilling and urging the President to call a nationwide moratorium until an Environmental Protection Agency study is complete.
This account makes use of critical analysis of the film and counter-allegations of its critics in the New York Times by Michael Soraghan of Greenwire athttp://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/02/24/24greenwire-groundtruthing-academy-award-nominee-gasland-33228.html