AN OPEN LETTER TO JOURNALISTS FROM GASLAND DIRECTOR JOSH FOX IN RESPONSE TO ATTACKS BY GAS INDUSTRY
February 7, 2011 — With the recent Oscar nomination of my documentary
film GASLAND, Big Gas and their PR attack machine hit a new low in its
blatant disregard for the truth.
In an unprecedented move, an oil and gas industry front group sent a
letter to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences saying that
the film should be ineligible for best documentary feature.
We are honored and encouraged by the Academy’s nomination. It is
terrific to be acknowledged as filmmakers by the film world’s most
prestigious honor. But perhaps more than that, I believe that the
nomination has provided hope, inspiration and affirmation for the
thousands of families out there who are suffering because of the natural
gas drilling. The Oscars are about dreams, and I know that for all of
us living with the nightmare of gas drilling the nomination provides
further proof that someone out there cares.
Now Big Gas wants to take that away, as they have shattered the American
dream for so many.
GASLAND exposes the disaster being caused across the U.S. by the largest
domestic natural gas drilling campaign history and how the contentious
Halliburton-developed drilling technology called hydraulic fracturing,
or fracking threatens the water supply of millions.
Fracking is a whole-scale industrialization process that pumps millions
of gallons of toxic material directly into the ground. Thousands of
documented contamination cases show the harmful chemicals used have been
turning up in people’s water supplies in fracking areas all over the
We stand behind the testimonials, facts, science and investigative
journalism in the film 100 percent. We have issued a point-by-point
rebuttal of the group’s claims (“Affirming Gasland”), posted on our
It’s not just us they’re after. The gas industry goes after anyone who
tries to punch a hole in their lie. Last week the same pro-drilling
group, Energy in Depth (EID), attacked an investigative piece on
drilling pollution by ProPublica, the highly credible public interest
And just last week, T. Boone Pickens, the most visible promoter of gas
fracking, went on The Daily Show claiming that he personally has fracked
over 3,000 wells and never witnessed any contamination cases, even when
Jon Stewart asked him about GASLAND point blank. He simply stated over
and over again the industry lie, that fracking is safe. Not a single
word of acknowledgement, or responsibility for the claims of thousands
and the threat posed to millions.
The gas industry believes it can create a new reality in which their
nationwide onshore drilling campaign isn’t a disaster. But no amount of
PR money or slick ads can keep the stories of contamination coming from
thousands of Americans from being any less true.
On Monday, Congressional investigators called out frackers for pumping
millions of gallons of diesel fuel directly into the ground, exposing
drinking water sources to benzene and other carcinogens. This makes
EID’s specious and misleading attack on the science and data in GASLAND
especially ironic since Halliburton stonewalled Congressman Henry
Waxman’s investigation into fracking, refusing to provide data on their
use of diesel and other harmful chemicals injected in the fracking
There are major watershed areas providing water to millions of Americans
that are at risk here, including the watershed areas for New York City
and Philadelphia. The catastrophe has been widely covered not only in
GASLAND, but also by hundreds of news stories, films and TV segments.
This is a moment of crisis that cannot be understated.
Even before its release, the power of the film was not lost on the
industry. In the March 24th edition of the Oil and Gas Journal, Skip
Horvath, the president of the Natural Gas Supply Association said that
GASLAND is “well done. It holds people’s attention. And it could block
GASLAND was seen by millions and I personally toured with the film to
over 100 cities. In affected areas, people came to the screenings with
their contaminated water samples in tow. They came to have the truth
they know shared and confirmed
As Maurice D. Hinchey, U.S. Representative (NY-22) recently said,
“Thanks to GASLAND and the millions of grassroots activists across the
country, we finally have a counterweight to the influence of the oil and
gas industry in our nation’s capital.”
Big Gas is blocking the truth in their pursuit of hundreds of billions
of dollars of profit. Their clear goal is to ensure our nation remains
addicted to fossil fuels for the rest of this century. They seek to
stifle the development of truly renewable energy.
They’re playing dirty in more ways than one, attacking the film and the
testimonials and science in it instead of taking responsibility and
addressing the contamination, destruction and harm that they are
creating. I now know how the people in my documentary feel, to have the
things they know to be true and the questions they are raising so
blatantly discounted and smeared. It is truly unfortunate that the
gas-drilling industry continues to deny what is so obvious to Americans
living in gaslands across the nation.
Josh Fox is based in New York City and will be in Washington, D.C. on
February 17. He is available for interviews. DVD screeners for the
media are available.