Josh Fox – Frac’ing, Flaming Water and Banjos

Dossier:

Twitter: @gaslandmovie

Web: gaslandthemovie.com

Youtube: gaslandmovie (note: HBO © content blocked in Canada)

Welcome To GASLAND

Set-up

I saw Josh Fox on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show so am a little aware of Gasland – a film about natural gas companies who contract property owners around the US to put pumps on their land. For impoverished folks, this can be a windfall but there are huge consequences with polluted ground water, ill health and all sorts of problems.

He was just nominated for an Academy Award, let’s see what Josh Fox has to say.

Here he comes… with a banjo! {overdub: “I’m not a pessimist”… says the film.} This is gonna be good! “It’s gonna be a bit of an adventure today.” says Mr. Fox. Noted.

This story is personal

He comes from the inter-connected watershed of Delaware River basin… {talks while banjo riffs}… Back in the 1970s, Nixon administration produced EPA and major environmental laws to protect America from pollution, {riffs}, in 2008 April, {riffs}… my family received a letter from a natural gas company saying, “Your land is atop of a shale with natural gas uses a technique called “hydraulic fracturing (fracing)”” The gas industry assured them “no big deal” just like a fire hydrant {riffs} and came with a “signing bonus.” It turns out 65% of Penn, 50% of NY, 35 states … received these letters. So i went out to ask questions.

{go banjo!}

“My neighbours told me about the process … They inject massive water amount and chemical mix into the ground.” {banjo riffs} … Josh continues (paraphrased): “I went to a nearby town where they’d been drilling for only 4 months and water wells had exploded!” {banjo} “The people said, “My water is bubbling and fizzing, my kids are getting sick, cats are loosing hair.”

{audience captivated – Fox rolls on, bespectacled and comfortable… }

“I began hearing about these stories of exploding wells and fizzing water, so I loaded up the car – with a banjo – to go to Colorado to see someone light their water on fire.

{cue film clip – comment: boom – whoa dude!}

“Next, I went to Wyoming to see the air problems.” {banjo riffs, film plays} A rancher says, “They cut the land to pieces – they do it different on every hole, nobodies watching, it’s a free for all.” Rancher goes on, “The venting tanks are everywhere, surrounding the house with brown air.”

Josh goes on, “I went to 24 states and heard the same story: cancer, brain damage, air, water, strange illnesses…”

{bring it down}

Yoko Ono Lennon & Josh Fox
Yoko Ono Lennon & Josh Fox

Around this point, Josh realized he was making a film and this was the best way to help. He rushed the project into production as time is of the essence. Assembled team of  4 people (editor, 2 producers, director(him)).

Then, accolades at Sundance and pick-up on HBO (note: and a LennonOno Grant for Peace). Film just opened in Australia (authour question: Did you jam with banjo and didjeridoo?) where the practice is rampant as well. (another note: just seeing via Twitter that this frac-ing on leased private land is common in NE BC).

{bring finish}

Josh took the movie on tour to the affected towns expecting dozens but seeing thousands – huge crowds needing release and recourse. Many brought water samples to confirm their fears. The gas industry came out with counter messaging… But despite the pushback and challenges,… He’s got faith! {riff that banjo!} “because in every town, there is a grassroots organization which has sprung to life…” {oh yeah!} “Indeed in the midst of David vs Goliath battles which are arduous and hard, it’s easy to forget that David won.”

Thanks {riffs} Standing O

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