Documentaries about fracking

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Gasland is a 2010 documentary about unconventional natural gas drilling, or hydraulic fracturing. Its director, Josh Fox, lives in the Upper Delaware River Basin, on the border between Pennsylvania and New York State, part of the area of Marcellus Shale. (For more information on Gasland, Marcellus Shale, and the impact of drilling on drinking water, please see SourceWatch's water clearinghouse.)

In May 2008, Fox received a letter from a natural gas mining company, who wanted to lease 19.5 acres of land from Fox for $100,000. On an interview on NPR's Fresh Air, Fox said the company stated,"'We might not even drill. We don't even know if there's gas here. It's going to be a fire hydrant in the middle of a field — very little impact to your land. You won't hardly know we're here.' "Instead of saying yes, Fox decided to travel around the country to see how the process of natural gas drilling affected other communities and homeowners, producing the documentary Gasland.[1]

Gasland Trailer

Some homeowners he spoke to noticed that their water had been discolored, or was starting to bubble. In some communities, people were able to light the water coming out of their faucets on fire — because chemicals from the natural gas drilling process had seeped into the water, an event documented in the film. Despite the pollutants, Fox says, "[t]he gas industry is very powerful, and their power in Congress is well shown. They were exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act by the 2005 Energy bill. The Safe Drinking Water Act monitors underground injection of toxins. They were also exempted in previous years from the Clean Air Act, the Superfund Law ... It's an unregulated industry."[1]

Industry response

Energy in Depth, a Washington, D.C. based oil and gas industry group,[2] has created a web page with a list of what it claims are factual inaccuracies in the documentary.[3]

In response to the EID's list of claimed factual inaccuracies, the Gasland website offers a point-by-point rebuttal.[4]

The Sky is Pink

The Sky is Pink is Josh Fox's second documentary film on fracking, "an emergency short film", released in mid-2012. It takes a look at the controversy in New York state where Governor Andrew Cuomo was considering plans to lift the state's moratorium on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for unconventional gas.[5]


FrackNation is a pro-fracking documentary that attacks opponents of fracking for oil and gas. The film was released in January 2013. Kevin Begos of the Associated Press wrote of the "release of the documentary now is clearly an attempt to play off a current Hollywood film on fracking, "Promised Land," which stars Matt Damon. But the David vs. Goliath roles are turned upside down, since McAleer's pro-fracking production received thousands of small donations on the fundraising site Kickstarter, while Damon's film, which has an anti-fracking angle, had millions of dollars in funding, including some from the United Arab Emirates ... McAleer says anti-fracking activists have based their crusade on faulty claims and a disdain for the actual wishes of many people in the rural communities where land is drilled. His main target is Josh Fox, the director of "Gasland," the 2010 award-winning, anti-drilling documentary that has inspired many critics of fracking."[6]

The film has been praised by conservative publications such as the National Review and Fox News as a fact-based counter to Josh Fox's film Gasland.[7][8] Montana Petroleum Association hosted ‘FrackNation’ showing at fairgrounds in Helena.[9]

The film received mixed reviews after its initial showings in Los Angeles and New York City.[10]

Triple Divide

Triple Divide is a 2012 documentary, co-directed by journalists Joshua Pribanic & Melissa Troutman, a project of Pennsylvania based non-profit Public Herald. It claims to be unique in speaking to all sides of the fracking issue, from industry to citizen victim. Among topics covered are industry water contamination and government cover-up. Co-narrated by Mark Ruffalo. Runtime: 90 min.

Gasland Part 2

Gasland Part 2 (also stylized as Gasland Part II), Josh Fox's 2013 follow-up to the original Gasland, deeper coverage of an issue with even higher stakes.

Dear President Obama: The Clean Energy Revolution is Now

Released in spring of 2016, Dear President Obama: The Clean Energy Revolution is Now, (directed by Jon Bowermaster, narrated and produced by Mark Ruffalo) highlights and challenges the Obama administration's expansion of oil and gas drilling, especially using fracking, and promotes increased reliance on clean and renewable energy sources. The film premiered in Washington, DC at National Geographic’s headquarters during the 24th Annual Environmental Film Festival.



  1. 1.0 1.1 "Josh Fox: Living In The Middle Of A 'Gasland'" NPR, June 25, 2010.
  2. Honan, Edith (2010-06-17). "Film challenges safety of U.S. shale gas drilling". Retrieved on 2010-06-28. 
  3. Energy in Depth (June 9, 2010). "Debunking GasLand". Retrieved on December 17, 2011. 
  4. "Affirming Gasland" (2010-07). Retrieved on 2010-12-21. 
  5. "The Sky Is Pink: New Josh Fox Video On Fracking Controversies in New York (and Much More)" Brenden Demelle, DeSmogBlog, June 20, 2012.
  6. "New documentary targets critics of fracking" Kevin Begos, Associated Press, January 21, 2013.
  7. "Who’s Afraid of Fracking?" Deroy Murdock, National Review Online, January 11, 2013.
  8. "'FrackNation' documentary examines environmental claims", January 22, 2013.
  9. "Montana Petroleum Association hosts ‘FrackNation’ showing at fairgrounds" Independent Record, January 23, 2013.
  10. "FrackNation Movie Reviews" Movie Review Intelligence, January 22, 2013.

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