F.I.L.M. of the Week (March 9, 2012)

9 03 2012

It’s the movie the oil companies don’t want you to see.  It was a nominee for Best Documentary Feature at the Oscars in 2010.  Now, “Gasland” is my pick for this week’s “F.I.L.M.” (Just another reminder, that’s First-Class, Independent Little-Known Movie.)

Filmmaker Josh Fox takes the Michael Moore approach to documentary filmmaking – that is, making a movie about an issue that concerns them, explaining it, and then filming their active involvement in trying to change it – but actually does it right.  There may be some errors, according to various fact-checkers who have examined the movie, but at the very least, “Gasland” will make you think twice before jumping immediately on the natural gas bandwagon.  It’s all too easy now with gas prices soaring to record highs; however, there is no easy solution to America’s energy problem, no silver bullet.

If natural gas is ever going to be more than just an alternative form of energy, Fox shows us how the industry is in dire need of reform and regulation.  After receiving a letter that a gas company wanted to drill for gas on his land in Pennsylvania, Fox decides to look into the process of hydraulic fracking that would be happening on his property.  Going from house to house in areas where fracking took place, he finds that the gas companies often contaminate the water supply.  Put a lighter under the faucet at these homes, and you can light their water on fire.  Scary, right?

Turns out, Congress exempted the natural gas industry from following the Safe Drinking Water Act in 2005 when new energy policy was being pushed down the pipelines.  If this frightens you, this is only the beginning of the real-life horror story in “Gasland.”  It’s worth a watch if you are concerned about what these companies can do to average citizens without the knowledge to realize it or the resources to stop it.

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