This documentary follows the story of one Joshua Fox, the film focuses on communities in the United States impacted by natural gas drilling and, specifically, a stimulation method known as hydraulic fracturing.
In May 2008, Fox received a letter from a natural gas company offering to lease his family’s land in Milanville, Pennsylvania for $100,000 to drill for gas.
Following the lease offer, he looked for information about natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale under large parts of Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio and West Virginia. He visited Dimock, Pennsylvania where natural gas drilling was already taking place. In Dimock, he met families able to light their tap water on fire as well as suffering from numerous health issues and fearing their water wells had been contaminated.
Fox then set out to see how communities are being affected in the west where a natural gas drilling boom has been underway for the last decade. He spent time with citizens in their homes and on their land as they relayed their stories of natural gas drilling in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Texas, among others. He spoke with residents who have experienced a variety of chronic health problems as well as contamination of their air, water wells or surface water. In some instances, gas companies are replacing the affected water supplies with potable water or water purification kits.
Throughout the documentary, Fox reached out to scientists, politicians and gas industry executives and ultimately found himself in the halls of Congress as a subcommittee was discussing the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act, "a bill to amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to repeal a certain exemption for hydraulic fracturing." Hydraulic fracturing was exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
Making appearances in the film are: Dr. Theo Colborn, founder of the Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX); John Hanger, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP); Dr. Al Armendariz, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator for Region 6; Wilma Subra, MacArthur Award-winning chemist; Calvin Tillman, Mayor of Dish, Texas; Weston Wilson, EPA scientist; members of Congress Diana DeGette (Colorado), Dan Boren (Oklahoma), and Maurice Hinchey (New York); Albert Appleton, former New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner; Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President; and James Gennaro, New York City Council Environmental Board Chair.
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