HBO’s Gasland tells alarming tale - Interview with filmmaker Josh Fox

Anyone who wants to know more about the public health dangers of oil and gas  development simply must catch HBO’s documentary ‘Gasland’ when it premieres this Monday, June 21 at 9pm EDT.

In this Sundance award winning film, Gasland filmmaker Josh Fox traveled throughout the United States to document the impacts of natural gas development on local communities and drinking water. What he finds is alarming. 

Tap water fire in Weld County, Colorado. From Gasland documentary by Josh FoxThe footage of a Weld County, Colorado man lighting up his tap water with a cigarette lighter says it all. But what’s also eye-opening is a look at the sheer immensity of gas leasing in and around our local communities.

If you don’t have HBO, you can listen to the enthralling interview with Josh Fox in a recent NPR Fresh Air segment with Terry Gross.

Gross’s interview details Fox’s journey through impacted communities after gas developers approached his family about leasing their land. 

“It just turns your whole world upside down when you can turn on the faucet and stick a cigarette lighter under it and just – you get this explosion of flame,” Fox tells gross.

When Terry Gross mentions she went to summer camp near where Fox’s family lives, he explains that gas companies are even drilling in and near summer camps:

"You'd be surprised at how many of those summer camps are leasing…. Even if the summer camps aren't leased, their neighbors are leasing… What the gas company is saying is, 'You can live where this is happening. You can go to camp where this is happening.' If watersheds are not off the table, schools are not off the table, summer camps are not off the table — near hospitals are not off the table. You have close to 15,000 wells in the downtown Fort Worth area — in the urban area, in the country, in the city. This is everywhere. So it stands to reason if you can put it next to somebody's house and the gas company says that's OK, you can put it in the middle of a summer camp. You can put it in the middle of a lake. You can put it right on the banks of the Colorado River, which supplies all the water to Los Angeles. This is what we're seeing."

Gross’ show is also worth catching for the beginning portion in which she interviews ProPublica investigative reporter Abrahm Lustgarten who exposed the internal BP documents that showed the company disregarded safety and environmental rules before the Gulf Oil spill. He also gives a quick primer on hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” that provides a great backdrop for the Fox segment.

See the Gasland trailer here:

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