Thirty-two members of the House of Representatives have asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to remove a factually inaccurate environmentalist documentary from the list of featured films at a State Department event showcasing “contemporary American society and culture.”
The documentary, Gasland, spread hysteria about the natural gas mining technique hydraulic fracturing, using numerous factual misstatements, exaggerations, and misrepresentations. Its inclusion in State’s event was first reported by Scribe last month.
The 32 House members accuse State of pursuing a “radical environmental agenda,” as evinced by its inclusion of Gasland in the event, and its role in blocking the Keystone XL pipeline.
“This agenda runs counter to the vast majority of Americans who want responsible American-made energy,” the letter states. “Therefore, this film does not ‘reflect contemporary American society and culture’ and should not be promoted by the federal government.”
The letter also objects to Gasland’s “factual errors and misleading statements about hydraulic fracturing.” Scribe noted some of those inaccuracies in our initial report on the event. The Independent Petroleum Association of America has compiled a more comprehensive list.
Chief among the film’s factual misrepresentations was its claim that hydraulic fracturing had injected flammable chemicals into a Colorado town’s water supply. A much-ballyhooed clip from the film shows a resident turning on his kitchen faucet and igniting the gas that comes out.
Left unmentioned was that such phenomena had occurred as far back as the 1930s – before hydraulic fracturing was invented. Confronted on that fact, director Josh Fox said that information wasn’t relevant. The pre-fracking prevalence of flammable checmicals in drinking water is a topic that Irish filmmakers Philem McAleer and Ann McElhinney will explore in depth in their upcoming documentary, FrackNation.
Gasland even drew a rebuke from Colorado’s Oil and Natural Gas Commission, which criticized its “several errors,” including the flaming faucets. Fox refused to allow the commission to review the film before its release, “which might have prevented [its] inaccuracies,” the commission noted.
Here is the full text of the letter to Secretary Clinton: