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Gasland Round II: Natural Gas Companies Under Fire Again (This Time, From a Hose) – Money Morning

This is a syndicated repost published with the permission of Money Morning. To view original, click here. Opinions herein are not those of the Wall Street Examiner or Lee Adler. Reposting does not imply endorsement. The information presented is for educational or entertainment purposes and is not individual investment advice.

Documentaries frequently succeed in visually portraying the inconceivable better than any other form of story-telling. Eye-opening and shocking, many spark controversial conversations even before they air.

Such is the case with Josh Fox’s Gasland Part II.

The sequel, a follow up to Fox’s 2010 documentary Gasland, a film that focused on U.S. communities impacted by natural gas companies’ drilling – specifically fracking – debuts Monday night on HBO.

Critical reviews run the gamut from “lies” to “pure fiction.”

The first film moved scores of eager environmentalists and “fracktivists” to speak out against natural gas drilling across the United States.

Natural gas companies/fracking supporters loudly lashed out in rebuttal.

They claimed many scenes in the film, including a Colorado landowner setting his tap water on fire in what has become known as the iconic flaming faucet scene, are misleading.

Critics cite studies claiming that area residents had reported flammable tap water for decades.

Reports claim that two years before the release of Gasland, Colorado regulators investigated that very case and determined hydraulic fracking and oil and gas development has nothing to do with it.

“There are no indications of oil & gas related impacts to water well,” read the Colorado Oil and Gas Conversation Commission report.

Fox failed to inform viewers of that fact saying he didn’t deem it relevant. But it is relevant when it questions the validity of the film’s signature scene, and the entire film’s credibility.

Following Gasland’s release, COGCC stated yet again that the landowner’s water well “contained biogenic gas that was not related to oil and gas activity.”

The Next Famous “Flaming Faucet”

As for Gasland Part II’s shocker, a man in Parker County, Texas is filmed lighting the end of a garden hose on fire. The implication is that gas drilling is to blame.

The image mimics the legendary short from the first one, but isn’t apt to have the same impact if this court ruling gets out…

According to a 2012 ruling of the Texas District Court, this particular Lone Star State landowner colluded with a local consultant to “intentionally attach a garden hose to a gas vent-not to a water line-and then light and burn the gas from the end of the nozzle of the hose. The 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…[and] alarm the EPA.”

Moreover, two years ago, state regulators investigated the incident and determined the source was natural seepage from a shallow rock formation, and that nearby natural gas wells “have not contributed and are not contributing to contamination of any domestic water wells.”

But Fox stands by the dangers of drilling – and blames Washington for giving oil and gas companies so much power.

Gasland I was about watching people light their water on fire,” Fox told Yahoo! Finance’s “The Daily Ticker.” “Gasland II is about watching the oil and gas industry set our democracy on fire. And that is what’s happening.”

Natural Gas Companies Fight Back with Fracking Facts

While viewers gear up for Gasland Part II, natural gas companies and other fracktivists are busy playing defense with their pro-fracking facts:

  • Fracking has reduced U.S. dependence of foreign oil and will drive the country from an oil importer to net exporter.
  • Fracking has increased U.S. oil reserves by more than 30% and natural gas reserves by 90%.
  • A recent IHS Global Insight report found the fracking industry supported 1.7 million jobs in 2012 alone.
  • A 2009 study from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Ground Water Protection Council (an interstate body of environmental regulators) concluded that fracking is a “safe and effective” technology of producing energy from deep geological formations like California’s Monterey Shale.

I don’t know about you, but instead of debating what’s real and what’s fake, I’ll be watching the sci-fi disaster drama Under the Dome instead.

What do you think – is Gasland for real? Leave us a note below.

The controversial topic of fracking was part of our first ever Money Morning Fight Club series. Check out what our resident brawlers had to say about whether or not California would ever give in and start fracking.

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