Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Reflections on Gasland

Gasland (2010) written and directed by Josh Fox, nominated for an Academy Award in 2011, is a film about Hydraulic Fracturing or 'Fracking'

'Fracking is the pumping of a pressurised mix of millions of gallons of water, millions of pounds of sand and thousands of gallons of chemicals (596 different chemicals) including toxins and carcinogens into deep wells to break up layers of shale rock to release the natural gas inside.'

Results of fracking include water contamination, exploding water wells, serious health problems, dead and sick farm animals and wildlife, Tap water can be set alight !  And earth tremors...

Also, in the US, vast swathes of public trust lands eg in Wyoming have been opened up to oil/gas exploration – the same Energy Task Force persuaded the Bureau Land Management, described as the 'greatest transfer of public lands to private hands in history'

Dick Chenye –, US Vice President in the Bush Jr Presidency 2001-09, former CEO of Halliburton gas and oil company – set up Energy Task Force in 2001 which spent $100 million dollars lobbying to create what became known as the 'Halliburton loophole' to the Safe Drinking Water Act under which oil/gas companies get exemptions from this legislation. The loophole, included in the 2005 Energy Policy Act, allows gas/oil companies to inject known hazardous materials underground directly or adjacent to drinking supplies and undermines the early 1970's environmental legislation

Someone in the film says fracking is 'drilling for natural gas in the least expensive way to make the highest profits'

Last year I wrote a review of a film called Promised Land which was about fracking. I ended the review with the line 'Socialists argue that ‘fracking is a mining technology, and if it can be made safe, and if we need it, we may use it in socialism.'

After I saw Gasland I now wonder 'Can it be made safe? Should we use it in socialism?'

I am reminded of what Engels wrote  'at every step we are reminded that we by no means rule over nature like a conqueror over a foreign people' and Marx 'we are not the owners of the globe' and 'we must hand it down to succeeding generations in an improved condition'

Steve Clayton

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