Fracking wars hit the silver screen with supporters’ film ‘Truthland’

06 14, 2012 by The Washington Times

The heated war over fracking is returning to the silver screen.

Natural-gas industry groups Wednesday released their documentary film “Truthland,” billed as a factual response to the popular but controversial “Gasland,” an Oscar-nominated film beloved by environmental activists for its highly critical portrayal of fracking and its effect on small communities.

But “Gasland” also touched off an intense backlash from natural gas proponents, who argue that many of the movie’s claims and depictions - including the now-famous scene of a resident in the fracking epicenter of Pennsylvania lighting his tap water on fire because of high levels of methane - are misleading at best, and completely bogus at worst.

“This isn’t the first time something has been released that sets the record straight on the mountain of misinformation in ‘Gasland,’ ” said Jeff Eshelman, vice president of public affairs at the Independent Petroleum Association of America, one of the industry groups that bankrolled and produced “Truthland.”

“But it is the first time that these facts have been transmitted in such vivid detail, through such a compelling medium,” he said.

The 34-minute film is available online at the site, on DVD by request, and at special screenings in several states affected by the fracking debate.

“Truthland” features interviews with energy and engineering experts, landowners who have leased property for natural gas exploration former government officials and others.

Meanwhile, “Gasland” director Josh Fox continues to work on a sequel to his film.

He was arrested in February and charged with unlawful entry after trying to film a House of Representatives fracking hearing without prior permission.