Mike Shellenberger+ Your Authors @ShellenbergerMD Author, “Apocalypse Never” : Time, “Hero of Environment” : Green Book Award Winner : President, Environmental Progress : IPCC Expert Reviewer : MD = my initials Apr. 24, 2020 2 min read + Your Authors

The doc film that should be canceled isn't "Planet of the Humans," it's "Gasland"

The person who should apologize is you, @joshfoxfilm

You *deliberately* mislead millions of people into believing fracking for natural gas caused that sensational fire

Here's the proof


In the trailer to "Gasland," a man stands by his sink with a sign above it reading, Do Not Drink this Water. We then see a congressman saying, with frustration in his voice, “What we’re doing is searching for a problem that does not exist!”


"Gasland" cuts back to the man at the sink. He is holding a lit cigarette lighter near the faucet’s tap, igniting huge flames that force him to jump backward

The media picked up on the story and depicted fracking as a significant threat to America’s natural environment

But the film’s depiction of the flammable water was deceptive.

In 2008 and 2009, the man from the film and two other Colorado residents filed formal complaints to Colorado’s main oil and gas regulator, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

The commission took water samples from the three homes and sent them to a private laboratory. The laboratory found that the gas from the man’s faucet and one other home was 100 percent “biogenic,” or natural, and something people have safely dealt with for decades.

It was created not by frackers but by Mother Nature. The third home had a mixture of biogenic and thermogenic methane; the owner and operator reached a settlement in the case.

The independent regulator of Colorado’s oil and gas industry took sharp objection to Gasland, noting that it informed producer @joshfoxfilm of the facts of the cases well before he produced his movie, and he chose not to include them

People have documented water catching fire naturally for centuries. There are reports of water on fire dating back to the ancient Greeks, Indians, and Persians. We now know that they were naturally occurring methane seeps.

In 1889, a driller burned his beard after lighting water from a well he drilled in Colfax, Louisiana. There’s a historical marker at the site of the well, which was featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

An Irish documentary filmmaker named Phelim McAleer called out @joshfoxfilm for his mischaracterization of fracking at a 2011 Gasland screening.


McAleer: There’s a [flaming water] report from 1976 . . .

Fox: Well, I don’t care about the report from 1976. There were reports from 1936 that people say they can light their water on fire in New York State.

McAleer: I’m curious why you didn’t include relevant reports from 1976 or from 1936 in the documentary? Most people watching your film would think that lighting your water started with fracking.

You have said yourself people lit their water long before fracking started. Isn’t that correct?

Fox: Yes, but it’s not relevant.

The Irish filmmaker posted the exchange on YouTube. @joshfoxfilm alleged copyright infringement.

At first @YouTube obeyed Fox’s demand and removed the video, before eventually restoring it.

You can follow @ShellenbergerMD.


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