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Gasland II Misleads on Fracking

Josh Fox’s sequel to Gasland, Gasland II, premiered earlier this month on HBO. The “documentary” — while supported by environmentalists on the left seeking to restrict or eliminate hydraulic fracturing — has come under serious scrutiny for its “luddite” stance on new technologies, as well as possibly misleading viewers. First, from Forbes:

Their spokesman is Josh Fox. And July 8th, to worldwide fanfare, HBO broadcast his latest manifesto, Gasland, Part II.

Gasland, Part II is a direct continuation of the original Gasland, which famously featured footage of a Pennsylvania man lighting his water on fire—a phenomenon that, unknown to many, is a frequent natural occurrence.

Both movies follow a similar three-part formula. First, Fox tells a sad story about a family undergoing a problem, usually with their drinking water—“When we turn on the tap, the water reeks of hydrocarbons and chemicals,” says John Fenton of Pavillion, Wyoming. Then, Fox blames it on the oil and gas industry using “fracking”–without exploring any alternative explanations, such as the fact that methane and other substances often naturally seep into groundwater. Finally, Fox concludes that fracking, and really all oil and gas drilling, should be illegal–as if any technology that can be misused should be outlawed.

And aside from not “exploring any alternative explanations,” The Washington Free Beacon has an article claiming Fox included footage that deliberately misled viewers:

Environmentalist filmmaker Josh Fox presents a hoax perpetrated by a Texas activist designed to malign an innovative oil and gas extraction technique as sensational evidence of its catastrophic environmental impact.

Fox’s new film, Gasland Part II, features a powerful scene showing a Texas landowner lighting the contents of a garden hose on fire. The incident is presented as evidence of water contamination from a nearby hydraulic fracturing operation.

According to a Texas court, the scene was actually a hoax devised by a Texas environmental activist engaged in a prolonged battle with a local gas company to falsely inflate the supposed dangers of the oil and gas extraction technique, also known as fracking.

You can check out the clip (YouTube) mentioned above here.

The Daily Caller dug up the actual court documents, with a fairly serious rebuke from the judge(s):

Texas’ 43rd Judicial District Court found last year that the Texas landowner,  “under the advice or direction” of environmental activist Alisa Rich, “intentionally attach[ed] a garden hose to a gas vent — not a water line” and lit it on fire.

“This demonstration was not done for scientific study but to provide local and national news media a deceptive video, calculated to alarm the public into believing the water was burning,” the court ruled.

The ruling was in response to a defamation complaint brought by gas company Range Resources, which has fracking operations in the area.

It’s unfortunate that some environmental activists are willing to stoop so low as to include such a scene in a “documentary” on hydraulic fracturing. Hopefully those who view the documentary also seek out some alternative viewpoints, or at least read some critiques of its honesty.

Fracking as a whole has created some schisms within the environmental community, as many environmental activists support fracking because they believe that natural gas is a preferable energy source to coal for electricity generation.

The entire video clip is embedded below:

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