“Gasland”

I am becoming numb to the nonstop reports about the BP oil spill in the Gulf and the broader implications regarding the oil-drilling industry. It’s sad to say, but I feel beaten down by the whole ordeal. I almost want to just close my eyes in the face of the insurmountable environmental destruction.

The documentary “Gasland,”  which premiered this week on HBO, has shocked me back to full attention.

“Gasland,” which earned a Special Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, explains how governmental loopholes are allowing dangerous drilling for fossil fuels and leaving the environment in ruins. (Sound familiar, anyone?) Only instead of offshore drilling for oil, the questionable process this time is land-based drilling for natural gas.

“Gasland” documents countless people whose drinking water has been doused with chemicals from this process, which the natural gas industry is organizing across dozens of U.S. states thanks to a federal law that exempts them from even the most basic protections established by the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. The film states that we are in the throes of the biggest push for such natural gas drilling in the history of the United States, and that it is poisoning wells and watersheds everywhere the campaign lands.

If you, like me, think it is horrifying to have tap water so filled with harmful chemicals that it catches fire when coming out of the kitchen faucet (how is it even a question that this should be banned?!), then watch “Gasland” and contact your lawmakers to insist on drilling moratoriums. Heck, tell them that you are calling under the example of the Bush Doctrine in a pre-emptive strike against an enemy that has the potential to threaten your way of life. That’s how I feel about the safety of my drinking water with these natural gas companies on the march toward my home state of New Jersey and the neighboring watershed in New York.

If you can’t spare an hour and a half to watch the documentary, then please consider watching this 4-minute interview with the filmmaker on Bloomberg business news. It provides a good overview of the issues that the film brings to light:

And congratulations to filmmaker Josh Fox on a job well done. I called statehouses in both Albany and Trenton today in response to what “Gasland” taught me. It is a fine journalist who can educate citizens so powerfully as to move them instantly from ignorance to action.

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