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Posted on on August 18th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

The Truth About Fracking.

By Alec Baldwin, Reader Supported News.

17 August 2012

In a recent post here, I described an event that I produced in Syracuse, New York, which brought together disparate anti-fracking groups for a screening of Josh Fox’s documentary film Gasland. As one would expect, among the readers who posted here there was a strong level of both support for the event (and any anti-fracking advocacy) and critiques of our effort, typically from gas industry functionaries or labor that supports hydraulic fracturing on behalf of jobs.

Many pro-fracking people posted attacks on Fox and his film, going so far as to state, in no uncertain terms, that his film has been widely and undeniably dismissed for lacking in accurate facts, science and history. I contacted Fox, by email, and asked him to provide me with more information to address the “deniers” who have debunked his assertions.

Josh Fox forwarded to me a detailed response that included the following links:

1- This 2009 piece from ProPublica that refers to a Garfield County, Colorado, study that contradicts certain gas industry assertions about methane in drinking water.

2- This 2011 report from Scientific American that describes significant aquifer contamination from fracking fluids in Wyoming.

3- A 2011 New York Times article that refers to the potential “first crack in the armor” of Rex Tillerson’s claims about fracking-related contamination.

4- This article from Food and Water Watch in April of 2012.

5- And this article from a March, 2012 issue of Rolling Stone.

I’ve got more if you want it.

I am quite certain that not many minds will be changed here. There are those who believe natural gas is abundant and readily accessible through fracking, that it will create lots of good paying jobs and will contribute to America’s energy independence.

Then there are those who believe that fracking is actually the energy industry’s most recent opportunity to do to Americans what these companies have been doing to other, economically impoverished and less politically sophisticated peoples all over the globe: to promise them some economic benefit, deliver a pittance in actual compensation, desecrate their environment and then split and leave them the bill.

Unfortunately, in this case, it’s not like Shell in Nigeria or Chevron in Ecuador. It’s here. In New York State and Pennsylvania and many other areas. And when the gas companies are done blasting and pumping and contaminating, after they’ve put the gas on the open market and sold it and the workers head home to Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, who do you think they’ll hand the bill to for the clean up of that mess? Who will be asked to provide water for cooking, cleaning and drinking for all of those affected?

Gas companies, like LNG, will make huge profits. And what will you get?


# Street Level 2012-08-17 21:00

Well said. The energy industry and idiots will always deny anything said about conservation and/or contamination. Our consumption based economy punishes us for using less with higher prices.
Our local water company is wanting a huge rate increase because consumption has gone down. I can only hope that they don’t end up selling it to the energy companies for fracking, causing a shortage and forcing farmers to compete for water like they’ve had to do in some parts of the country.
# objectiveobserver1 2012-08-17 14:28

Thank you Mr. Baldwin. Isn’t is so much better to not hold political office so that you can be free to speak the Truth?! What I want to know is why does an ad for an oil and natural gas company that operates in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, keep showing up on my google page advertising Tax Free Investment in oil and gas wells? Why is that investment tax free? It’s called BreitlingOiland It seems so funny (in that I get a perverse pleasure in black humor) that they boast of “experience in the field since 2004” as if 8 years experience adds up to much. Then I read an article (which disappears after 1 day) on Yahoo about the massive sink hole that just appeared suddenly in Louisiana. Their rightwing Gov. Jindal and cohorts want to blame it on the nearby abandoned salt mine and compel the salt mine company to drill a hole to investigate. Like it really makes sense to build a hole right near a massive hole. Meanwhile I learn from reading through the thousands of comments underneath that the region is “pocked with pumpers” (small exploratory wells) and I read various speculations about the likelihood that the sinkhole is related to fracking. Now finally, I am reading something logical that might resemble the Truth. If we wring the earth dry like a sponge, the earth will collapse in on itself. Fracking just helps us race ever faster to our own destruction.

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