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December 11, 2016
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FrackNation draws 35

Reporter Kevin Kearney, left, interviews FrackNation director Phelim McAleer.

Drilling is allowed in Susquehanna, PA, where the tiny town of Dimock – population about 1,500 – has been “ground zero” for the fracking movement. Eleven residents of the town have filed a lawsuit claiming that fracking has contaminated their water. In “FrackNation,” McAleer talks to numerous residents who say fracking is not the source of the pollution and that such allegations have been overblown.

“Eleven people filed the lawsuit – 1% of the population,” McAleer said. “Dimock is not a ‘gasland,’ it is beautiful.”
McAleer said the moratorium is a detriment to farmers. If drilling is allowed, it would be a financial windfall for the farmers who are now struggling to pay their bills. Fracking can make America one of the world’s leading energy producers, if not for the extremist environmentalists with influential backing, he said.

“It seems that Hollywood is with Josh Fox, and the farmers are with us,” McAleer said, noting that though Fox currently lives in Milanville, PA in Wayne County, he was born in New York City.

Daniel Fitzsimmons, president of the Binghamton-based Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, said there is no legitimate reason why drilling should be held up. He said gas drilling can be a safe enterprise if best management practices are followed.
“We need to let them know we want drilling in New York,” Fitzsimmons said. “Drilling can be safe and beneficial. Talk to your neighbors, talk to your friends – let’s get the word out.”

McAleer said the $212,000 he raised to fund the film came from, a website where “ordinary people” can pledge money for creative projects they feel are worthwhile.

No confrontations at the screenings

About 350 people turned out to the Callicoon Theater for the screening of Gasland Part II and about 35 turned out for the showing of FrackNation at the Sidetracks Bar and Lounge next door.

There were three police officers on hand. Some people may have been expecting, or hoping for, some sort of public confrontation between the two crowds, but that was not to be.

According to several people at the events, FrackNation director Phelim McAleer had a camera operator in tow and attempted to talk with several people connected to the other screening, but those people would not engage.

The directors of both films have used on-camera confrontations to tell their stories, but these screenings will not likely be used in any upcoming film about hydraulic fracturing.