‘Fracking Crazy’ or ‘Fracking Brilliant?’: A Look at the Pro-Fracking Documentary ‘FrackNation’
There are two sides to every story. Just as critics responded to Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” with the 2008 documentary “Not Evil Just Wrong,” the flip side to Josh Fox’s “Gasland” — a 2010 film portraying the negative environmental and health effects of hydraulic fracturing — is already in the works.
But the directors of “FrackNation” — the same ones who produced the response to Gore’s documentary – wouldn’t consider their story one side or the other:
There are two sides to every story. Then there is the truth.
FrackNation is the film that will tell the truth about fracking.
Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer plan to show other stories not revealed in Fox’s film and debunk what they consider lies and misrepresentations in Gasland, in their effort to tell the truth.
Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” a process that involves pumping water and chemicals into shale rock to create cracks that will allow a trove of natural gas within to be harvested, is a hot topic these days with the EPA studying effects on health and water quality and earthquakes being associated with this man-made activity.
The boisterous McElhinney spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday in a session about the natural resources available in the U.S. that are not being used whether it be due to regulations, laws or fears caused by environmental activism.
It was a speech that drew laughs and nods from audience members:
Wearing a shirt with the slogan “Fracking Brillant,” McElhinney shared with her audience what she considered the lies of “sustainability” and “anti-fossil fuel atmosphere” in the country. she also explained of how she hopes “FrackNation” will educate citizens about 1) where their energy comes from (she cites those who drive electric cars not realizing that the electricity powering the car often comes from burning coal); and 2) the opportunity available for the country to use its own, “local, indigenous and organic” resource.
Politico reports that “FrackNation” highlights how fracking could help those who have fallen upon hard times in the nation:
In “Frack Nation,” McAleer interviews one farmer who says, “If the gas industry is not allowed in, I will have to divide my land and sell it for development. My son wants to farm, but he had to get a job in the city. I won’t be able to keep it for him.”
“The environmental movement has had a very easy ride for the last 30 years,” said McAleer. “The media hasn’t asked difficult questions.”
In her speech at CPAC, McElhinney went a step further with her analysis, noting that environmentalists a couple decades ago raved about natural gas as a clean energy alternative. Now that natural gas is competitive with coal in terms of cost, Mcelhinney surmises, there is a group that no longer wants you to have it. She draws the analogy in the drop of natural gas prices to buying your child once-expensive ski gear at Walmart.
“They want to turn the lights out,” she said. “They hate seeing your kids on the ski slope next to them. They hate your kids having what they have.”
And what about the earthquakes? McElhinney pointed out that, yes, there is such a thing as man-made earthquakes and that fracturing can cause them. She also notes that a form of renewable energy popular with environmentalists is geothermal energy; this also causes man-made tremors though.
In Fox’s Gasland, residents bring up another issue: they associate being able to shockingly light their water on fire with the fracking. But McElhinney says that towns have been able to do this well before fracking. When the team confronted Fox about this point, he said it wasn’t relevant. Watch the directors explain this encounter with Fox and provide more information about the documentary:
Politico notes that the mode of fundraising the directors are taking is interesting — even ironic. Here’s why:
Perhaps most interesting about McElhinney and McAleer’s efforts to complete “Frack Nation” is their method: Kickstarter. The filmmakers are using the fundraising website to raise $150,000 to cover their costs. (They’re currently at $36,000). McAleer says that his film is one of the few conservative projects on a website that he views as predominantly liberal.
“All the movies on Kickstarter are pro-environment, anti-business, anti-American, I suppose, said McAleer. “And that’s why it’s been one of the more successful projects on Kickstarter so far. It’s been constantly on the most successful front page of Kickstarter because the money has come in at such a rate because people are just so glad to see something different there.”
With less than 50 days to go, FrackNation has nearly 775 backers who have contributed more than $62,000 to the team’s $150,000 goal.
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