Sunday, January 30, 2011

GasLand

GasLand, one of the 5 films up for best documentary feature at this year's academy awards, is a fascinating film.

My awareness of the natural gas phenomenon is relatively high, and so terms like hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and natural gas shale are not uncommon words.

Typically when these things are discussed they are discussed with balanced skepticism, acknowledging the great economic opportunity presented (both to people with mineral rights, and America with easily accessible fossil fuels). Yet at the same time, there is often some skepticism when these stories are presented questioning the environmental and health risk of fracking.

And here's where Josh Fox creates his entertain and disturbing documentary perfect for those who like health mystery, on-site investigation, big business scandal and government conspiracy.

Perhaps the story of Fox's GasLand is interesting to me because of the amount of time Fox spends in places where I have lived...adding to the fear and skepticism.

I have watched the news stories of locals who are able to light their tap water on fire because of the gas and chemicals in their water system, I have heard of people selling their mineral rights for corporations to access the Barnett Shale in the Fort Worth area. And so this film is plenty disturbing.

But beyond being disturbing, the debut documentary features a snappy style that has plenty of dry humor and sarcasm to make for an enjoyable feature. And anything that happens fast in the business world needs someone like Fox to add to the voice that says "let's slow down and think about this."

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