‘Erin Brockovich’ writ large

Posted on | June 21, 2010 | 2 Comments

Josh Fox standing in a stream that passes by his home in Pennsylvania. Source: HBO. After fracking began in Dimock, Pa., local livestock that drank water near gas mines began losing their hair. Fox took up the subject in the documentary 'Gasland' after his family was offered nearly $100,000 by a company for drilling rights on their land. From the Philadelphia Inquirer. Click here to read its review of 'Gasland.'

For Westerners, the connection between gas and water usually centers on Chromium VI, the chemical once used as a coolant by PG&E gas compressor plants and subsequently the Mojave Desert groundwater pollutant made famous by “Erin Brockovich.”

Yet a far greater, clear and present threat exists to a shared watershed extending from New York to West Virginia and throughout gas fields of the midwest and Texas. That is “hydrofracking,” the process in which chemically laced water  is used to fracture rock for gas extraction.

Gas companies decline to state what chemicals they use, citing commercial sensitivity. “The casing design and cementing of wells are orders of magnitude more important than knowing what’s in the secret sauce at fracturing companies,” Charles Stanley, chief operating officer of the natural gas mining exploration group Questar Corp told the Houston Chronicle last December.

For the industry's view of events from the Global Petroleum Forum, and how "fracking" was imported from Texas to deal with Northeastern rock, click here.

Moves to force them to treat fracking water before returning it to streams and groundwater have been unevenly applied. To see the havoc that fracking waste water is wreaking throughout the Marcellus Shale (left), watch Josh Fox’s 2010 Sundance Film Festival award-winning documentary “Gasland” on HBO tonight at 9pm. Also look for him to be interviewed by Jon Stewart. Via WaterWired.

Note: Fracking is a frequent subject of weekly news round-ups on this site. For a range of links on reports on hydrofracking in Texas, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York, go to the search box of this website and enter ‘fracking’ and ‘frack.’


2 Responses to “‘Erin Brockovich’ writ large”

  1. Georgia
    June 22nd, 2010 @ 7:14 am

    Listened to an interview with Josh Fox on a Conn. NPR station. Fox’s description of fracking has made us wary of the big push to harvest natural gas as an energy alternative to petroleum.

  2. George
    June 22nd, 2010 @ 7:42 pm

    Josh Fox was interviewed by Jon Stewart last night too. He’s a very articulate fellow.

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