It is difficult to convey the enormous impact fracking is going to have on America.
Now, if you only listened to radical environmentalists you would think fracking – a process that allows companies to extract natural gas from deep rock - is going to make large parts of America an environmental wasteland.
But my investigations have found that the truth about fracking is often obscured by campaigners' scare stories and exaggerations.
Instead as I have investigated the process, I have discovered it is bringing a financial and energy revolution to some of the poorest parts of America. Quite simply, in America where there is fracking there is no recession or downturn. It is a stimulus package that came with no help from the government, is going to last for decades after the current politicians have left the scene, and will be producing so much natural gas that it may mean America finally becomes energy self-sufficient.
Although fracking arrived in these states without government assistance – government interference now threatens to stop the process in its tracks.
Thanks to the Oscar-nominated documentary Gasland, many people and many government officials believe fracking pollutes water and creates wastelands wherever it is used. The government is investigating and fracking is being banned in a number of states and regions across the country.
However, like so many documentaries nowadays Gasland is high on anecdote and emotion, but low on science and fact.
One of the most dramatic images in Gasland is footage of a resident lighting his tap water with flames shooting out of the faucet.
As a journalist I wanted to learn more, so I went to a Q&A with Gasland director Josh Fox. As I questioned him, Fox eventually admitted that he knew people could light their tap water in these areas decades before fracking came on the scene. However Fox said that he did not include this fact in his documentary because “it was not relevant." That was quite an admission so I quickly threw a recording of the Q&A up on YouTube and to my shock Josh Fox's lawyers wrote to YouTube threatening them unless the video was removed immediately.
Quicker than I could say “fair use,” Fox and his lawyers pursued my little clip across the internet and using threats shutting it down wherever it appeared.
I don't respond very well to censorship so rather than shutting me up, Fox's high-handed lawyering got me very interested in what he was trying to cover up. I decided to make my own documentary called FrackNation dedicated to telling the type of stories Josh Fox seems to want to suppress. But unlike Josh Fox and Gasland I could not rely on corporate financing from HBO – or wealthy Hollywood actors.
So along with my wife Ann McElhinney and co-director Magdalena Segieda we decided to use Kickstarter, a crowdfunding website. Kickstarter normally hosts proposals showcasing Occupy Wall Street or radical environmental style documentaries but we put our FrackNation pitch up and in just under eight weeks we have raised over $190,000 in small donations from 2800 members of the public.
For us it was proof that there was a truth out there that was being ignored by the establishment media.
Our backers know the truth about fracking and they are angry that their stories and experiences are not being properly represented in the media. They have seen environmental activists and journalists such as Josh Fox run with big headlines when the EPA launched investigations into water pollution “incidents” in Wyoming, Pennsylvania and Texas. But when it was later announced that there was no contamination – there was no retraction from the campaigners. According to the locals the media simply ignored the findings and moved on to report the next scare story.
We've interviewed farmers who are angry. One elderly farmer cried as he told me how it upset him that urban elites, such as Josh Fox and the actors Marc Ruffallo and Robert Redford said he doesn't care about his own land.
One lady said Hollywood millionaires need to know that the farmers in these areas are not their slaves to be told what to do and how they should work their land.
Another farmer pointed out that without the money from the shale gas boom they will have to sell their farms – for housing. Do environmentalists want the green fields covered in houses?
We want to tell the truth about fracking but we need help from the public. Josh Fox is bringing out a sequel to Gasland. The Hollywood/Environmental establishment only wants to tell one (untrue) side of the story.
If you want to help tell the truth about fracking and restore some balance to the documentary world go to FrackNation.com. There is less than a day left to donate. We, and the millions of people across America who are looking to fracking for a better future, really need your help.