REGION — The movie “Gasland” is credited by some with shining a huge spotlight on the issue of hydraulic fracturing and changing the conversation about it from one that concerned only a handful of residents into a national and international debate about the future of energy and the environment of the planet.
Whether you think fracking is the savior of the American lifestyle, the path to ruination, or something in between, it’s hard to ignore the impact “Gasland” has had on the conversation. In September 2011, Natural Gas Watch (www.natauralgaswatch.org ) quoted the president of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association as saying, “What we’ve seen in the last few years, and I hope it’s peaking, is a completely heightened public awareness around hydraulic fracturing and an increase in active opposition.” She added, “I hate to credit the movie ‘Gasland,’ but it’s really changed the conversation.”
Now comes “Gasland Part Two.” The movie, which like the first was directed by Josh Fox, who has a home in Milanville, PA, is going to have its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 23. After that, Fox will tour with the movie to as many cities as possible for screenings before the movie appears on the cable channel HBO later this summer.
On April 3, more than 400 people dialed in to a conference call with Fox and others who are campaigning against fracking. Fox repeated his belief that the only reasonable way to deal with fracking is to call for a total ban. “Where there is no fracking, there should be no fracking. The ban movement in New York has worked, and it’s continuing to work; the ban movement in Longmont, CO is working.”
As for the movie, Fox said “Gasland Part Two” would be a continuation of the stories of some of the residents introduced in the first film. Then he added, “But really, it’s about another layer of contamination due to fracking, which is a contamination of our democracy. Every dollar that the oil and gas industry injects into our political system is a toxic dollar. That is a contaminant in the political system, and we are talking about literally billions of dollars. We have to use another kind of currency—our passion, our intellect, our ability to organize and protest and get in the way of this machinery.”
He continued, “More than anything else, the film is about how we have to take back our power. We have to take back our democracy, because it has been captured by the oil and gas industry at every level, from state regulatory to Congress and all the way on up. And we’re going to have to fight to get that structure serving the people again.”