[Pittsburgh] – Josh Fox, director of the 2011 Academy Award-nominated documentary Gasland, joined grassroots groups, environmental organizations, medical experts, and residents affected by gas drilling activities to discuss the dangers of drilling and to introduce Fox’s new documentary film, Gasland 2, prior to the nationwide July 8 premiere on HBO. Other screenings were held in New York, California, Colorado, and Illinois, all states affected by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
“Gasland 2 features real people – ordinary Americans – whose lives have been upended by the dirty and dangerous process of fracking.” Fox said. “That’s why I’m working with environmental leaders and advocates across the country to protect our health, water, climate and landscapes and to prevent state and federal governments from allowing a path to destruction. We need to educate ourselves and our elected leaders and ban this toxic practice and move vigorously toward renewable energy.”
Gasland 2 demonstrates how the stakes have been raised by the fracking industry since the release of Gasland in 2010. At the Gasland 2 film screening, Fox will answer questions about the film and the misinformation about fracking that is distributed by the oil and gas industry.
“Our once peaceful existence has forever changed,” said David Headley, a Fayette County resident who has been impacted by drilling activity. “This industry is a loose cannon; we need to get a handle on it and hold the industry accountable.”
“Some claim that natural gas reserves will help lead to a clean energy future, however the negative consequences of fracking may yield the exact opposite effect,” said Dr. Dawson Lim, M.D. a medical oncologist. “There are over 650 chemical compounds in fracking fluids that may cause cancer in humans. There is NO minimal exposure to these toxins that is safe.”
A recent poll shows that 59% of Pennsylvanians view fracking as a major risk to water resources and nearly two-thirds support a moratorium on fracking. In May, petitions with more than 100,000 signatures were delivered to Gov. Tom Corbett, calling for a statewide moratorium on fracking.
"My life has been devastated by working in the gas fields. Without proper training, tools or protection, I was routinely sent out to handle toxic fracking fluid in unsafe ways,” said Rick “Mac” Sawyer. “Now, a year later, I'm sick, with no health insurance."
“In the two years following the loss of my brother, our eyes have been opened to the substantial number of injuries and deaths caused by this dangerous industry,” said Charlotte Bevins, whose brother was killed on the job while working for a drilling company. “This is an industry known for cutting corners, racing against public opinion, and ignoring scientific evidence.”
“Every day, the gas industry succeeds in making its voice heard,” said Erika Staaf with PennEnvironment. “We need more people to arm themselves with information about fracking and then speak up and take action – that’s the only way we’ll win this David and Goliath fight, succeed in halting dangerous drilling and finally move toward a clean energy future.”
Fox invites the public to “Open your eyes; question how oil and gas industries have influenced our elected officials and government agencies. Fossil fuels not only pollute the climate: Their moneyed supporters can contaminate our democracy if we let them.