Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gasland (movie review)

John Fox is worried about what it might mean to allow hydrofracturing in his water table. Would toxins get into the ground water and destroy his habitat? Hydrofracturing is a process of injecting a brew of chemicals deep into the earth to release natural gases.

A complicated and unknown geology may offer little protection against seepage. Wells get contaminated and the the tap water catches fire. Streams go bad. Toxins trickle in (or flood in as the case may be). Animals (including humans) get sick and die.

John makes a pilgrimage across country, starting and ending in Pennsylvania, aiming to discover what's been going on. Colorado, Texas, Wyoming, Utah... Louisiana.

Are the denizens of the Lower48 still hell bent on destroying their own environment. Yes, apparently they are. Environmental protections put in place by a previous generation have been rolled back, as unfavorable to industry.

The largest unfiltered water supply in the world in upstate New York is the next target. People worry about "terrorists" poisoning their water supply. Ironic.

Lots of people enjoy natural gas though. Big city folk use it to cook with, heat their buildings with, power their "clean energy" buses with. Gotta have it.

What's happening to the countryside is a lot like what's happening to the Niger Delta or any region where rampant energy extraction occurs without much rhyme or reason. The locals are no match for the conquerors, who bully them into subjugation. There's little government to speak of, and no real national guard (in the literal sense, of guarding the people).

One might imagine ways to actually plan and develop energy resources in harmony with the ecosystem, intelligent designs. Such planning is hardly evident in the Lower48 though.

Any real science is short circuited as politicians try to create "jobs jobs jobs" (opportunities to "earn a living") regardless of the consequences.

Update (September 2017):  see this as a double feature with FrackNation for another point of view.  There's also a Gasland 2 out by now.