Accuracy in Media

The documentary, “FrackNation,” features freelance Irish journalist Phelim McAleer, directly challenging the anti-fracking documentary, “Gasland,” produced by Josh Fox. And in light of a recently released Hollywood movie, “The Promised Land,” starring Matt Damon, “FrackNation,” a refreshing and factual take on the issue of fracking, becomes all the more relevant.

Fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, is a process used to extract natural gas or oil out of the earth after fracturing rocks beneath the surface of the earth using chemicals and other fluids injected through high pressure.

In “Gasland,” Josh Fox claims that fracking causes contamination of the groundwater, leading to increases in cancer in local residents, while causing earthquakes and bad air quality. McAleer effectively challenges each point in its entirety.

Fox, according to McAleer, has no basis for blaming fracking for contaminated groundwater. When local residents were interviewed in Dimock, Pennsylvania, they mostly agreed that they knew there were always some minerals, like flammable methane, in their water. The famous scene in “Gasland,” where Fox lit water on fire, ignores this fact and fails to acknowledge that methane in water is commonplace throughout the U.S. When one family, the Sautners, was interviewed, they claimed their water was cloudy like dirt. But, when shown on camera, the water appeared to be clear. The husband, however, insisted the water was still dirty.

McAleer also tackles the accusation that fracking causes cancer.  A retired New York University professor said that he is seeking cancer treatment, but he doesn’t blame fracking for it, just a bad stroke of luck. Studies conducted in Dish, Texas showed that there was no correlation or causation between cancer patients and living in a fracking area, contrary to what Fox and “Gasland” portray as fact.

Earthquakes, according to anti-frackers, are caused by fracking. McAleer consulted noted seismologist at Cal-Berkeley, Ernest Majer, on whether or not that is true. Majer strongly disputed that assertion in “Gasland,” and showed seismological data. Instead of focusing on fracking, Majer said, the anti-frackers should focus on geothermal energy extraction. Geothermal energy extraction, in places like San Francisco, California, actually leads to more seismic activity than any other extraction practice, especially fracking.

The claim that fracking damages air quality is also false, according to McAleer. Fox recently told a conference that he heard that Baldwin Hills, an area in the Los Angeles region, had poor air quality and it would get worse because of fracking. When he went to Baldwin Hills he interviewed local residents who were out jogging, walking and running. A consistent word among all the interviewed residents? “Fresh” or “clean” air.

Fracking helps the local dairy and farming economies in the Delaware River watershed. Communities in Pennsylvania and New York are suffering from the current moratorium on the practice. Most farmers when interviewed were struggling already, before the fracking companies came to the area. Without the leases and additional money from the fracking companies, these farmers said they could go out of business. The worst part is that these farmers have owned the lands for generations. All of them love their land, and many were brought to tears when expressing their fears for the future. If a moratorium were to continue, these farmers would have to sell their land that their ancestors cleared to farm. Without farms, houses and suburban sprawl would ensue, which would actually hurt the watershed and the environment itself.

One of the highlights of McAleer’s documentary is when the Sautners, a prominent anti-fracking family, maintained their claims of polluted groundwater. When the EPA and the state’s environmental scientists released their results and showed there was no such water contamination, it was a slap in the face. The couple lost their temper and the state regulators had to calm the husband down while the wife stormed off muttering obscenities. This was apparently not what they were hoping to hear.

McAleer was also threatened by a local commissioner’s lawyer for videotaping an interview of her client, who had suspicious ties to the producer of “Gasland.” His documentary team was harassed when they confronted Josh Fox at a local event, where security forcefully pushed out the team and scratched the hand of one of the team members, drawing blood.

Throughout the documentary, the use of graphs, charts and explanations of the numbers they use are smooth, easy to read, and enhance the overall production. They give a new and fresh feeling to the documentary and make it feel more current and ‘hip’ than most documentaries.

“FrackNation” is a great counter to “Gasland,” and provides a perspective on fracking that you won’t be seeing out of Hollywood or the mainstream media.

FrackNation will be shown on tonight, January 22, at 9 p.m. ET.

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  • siquijorisland

    great news

  • TomTom46

    If it is so safe why won’t the drilling companies publish a complete list of the chemicals they are pumping into the ground and why won’t the industry comply with the Clean Water Act? They are obviously aware of the issues with the process, yet refuse to admit it.

  • Ludale

    Tomtom46 if you go to it’s a great source of info and every chemical is explained in detail and how much is used.

  • TomTom46

    Been a month, still no explanation for why such a “Clean” process refuses to comply with Clean Water and Clean Drinking Water acts. Not surprised, fracking supporters always avoid the questions because there is no legitimate answer.

  • Mike Khachatrian

    The Clean Water Act sets rules for surface water. Surface water is not effected since the injection occurs underground. The Safe Drinking Water Act protects current and possible future USDW’s. Surface casing is set and cemented in place protecting fresh water aquifers. The industry complies with all rules.

  • OyVey

    Yeah, take that TomTom46! Underground contamination means that natural gas extraction is cool. Don’t worry about it, bro.

  • realclearconservative

    Ask McDonalds what is in their PROPRIETARY secret sauce. Numbskull.

  • realclearconservative

    You can’t handle the truth.

  • Matthew Montoya

    U r comparing a sauce to carcinogenic chemicals. Who’s really the numbskull?

  • realclearconservative

    5 months to come up with THAT? hahahaaaaaa!!! I guess we both know who the numbskull is, don’t we?

  • Wes_Scott

    The proprietary claim is totally bogus. Frack fluids are not unique to each driller, but rather come from a couple of companies that manufacture them and then either sell them to companies or provide the fracking services as subcontractors. They are al using the same fracking fluids, so your statement is without a factual basis.

    The real issue about revealing what is in the fracking fluids is that emergency first responders and professional medical personnel need to what they are dealing with in order to protect themselves and properly treat those who are exposed and affected. Without 100% disclosure that is never possible. And, if the stuff was safe, then drilling companies would not be settling lawsuits and making those they harm sign non-disclosure agreements to prevent them from telling the truth.

    I agree that you are a “realclearconservative”, which implies that truth has no relevance to you. The only thing that matters is your dogma.

  • Wes_Scott

    You don’t even know the truth, nor do you care.

  • Wes_Scott

    BS! I recently did some research on one company applying for a permit and found literally hundreds of code compliance violation reports in every state in which they operate. The report for Ohio alone listed 340 violation reports, most of which had 2-4 violations per report including several for pollution and contamination of water, air and soil.

    Your claim is simply not supported by facts, but you made it anyway.

  • Wes_Scott

    Fracknation is the biggest fraud ever perpetrated. It makes claims of others saying things that are not true, but it offers zero evidence or facts to corroborate its many false claims. McAleer is a liar. If he is so concerned about fracking, then why is he not in Ireland fighting for it where it has been banned?

  • realclearconservative

    7 months to come up with that? lol And your dogma doesn’t stink? smh

  • realclearconservative

    7 months to come up with that? Retard.

  • Wes_Scott

    I did not have “5 months to come up with” anything. I found that link just minutes before I posted my statement. leave to an idiot like you to attack my timeline rather than even try to refute the facts I presented. That is exactly why our side is winning this debate and your side is getting its butt kicked all around the world.

    In my city we kicked out the industry and then passed a drilling ordinance that all but bans the activity. The industry is miffed how they lost in a pro-business, pro-oil and gas city, but they got run out of town on a rail.

  • realclearconservative

    LOL Whatever LOL

  • Wes_Scott

    It figures that truth and facts are laughing matters to you. It says everything that needs to be said about your placing dogma and ideology before truth and fact. Thank you for making that absolutely clear.

  • At first I was thinking that it was nice that an independent felt so positive toward fracking. Then I began to realize the “independent” meant something different than I thought. Some examples follow.

    The representative from the Texas environmental agency stated that of the 50 air samples from Best, TX none of them exceeded the short-term exposure limits set by the EPA. This seems to sound good, but short-term exposure limits might be suitable for a worker only exposed a few hours a day. They aren’t suitable for a general population exposure on an ongoing basis. So, what were the results from these 50 tests when measured against general air quality standards?

    Another example is citing the earthquakes from the Geysers Geothermic plant in California. The plant did not “cause” the earthquakes. The earthquakes are a natural occurring phenomenon that go hand-in-hand with the geysers.

    They stated that it fracking was responsible for almost no earthquakes. While this may technically be true, it is extremely misleading. It is the disposal wells used for the chemicals used for fracking that cause the earthquakes. These have steadily been increasing. Now there are several 4.0 magnitude EQ’s month in the Oklahoma area. There is no responsible person denying the linkage with fracking. To state otherwise is like the tobacco industry saying that smoking does not cause lung cancer.

    My concern is that the chemicals disposed into the earth may follow fracture lines created by the earthquakes and contaminate the aquifer. This aquifer covers 174,000 square miles under parts of South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas. Could we possibly make these regions uninhabitable? I know this is probably unlikely, but what if it happened? There would be no going back!

    The fracking industry was exempted from the Clean Water and Clean Drinking Water acts. The narrator explains that this was so the states could regulate them. This seems ludicrous to me. We all know why they might get such an exemption and it is not comforting.

    They quoted a professor who was world-renowned in his expert testimony saying that chemicals that were listed as carcinogenic were listed that way because they were given in massive doses to rats. He stated that those findings did not mean they were carcinogenic to humans. How misleading is that? Perhaps we should totally ignore cancer research into carcinogenic pathogens.

    I turned the movie off before the last 20 minutes finished. It fell far short of presenting the unbiased view I had hoped to find.

    How can this site call themselves “Accuracy in Media” and speak in support of “Fracknation”?