Meet the Frackers - Foreign Correspondent
The film also examines other states where fracking is taking place, such as North Dakota, where farmer Jacki Schilke insists that frackers “are here to rape this. Meet the frackers: Making sense of America's new energy resources - The Economist, June .. Five federal lawsuits mark the first attempt to link drilling and quakes .. A friend of mine recently hosted a home screening of the documentary . BEEN A REGULATORY FRAMEWORK DONE ON A FEDERAL LEVEL. . THERE IS A DOCUMENTARY CALLED "MEET THE FRACKERS".
But what happens now, when new techniques mean that huge amounts of black gold can once again be recovered? What are the risks -- to health, to the environment, to property? What kind of regulation do we need to protect the people living next door? These questions urgently need answers; the oil industry is moving forward much faster than science and public awareness. Story continues below Pin on Pinterest Share on LinkedIn Here's a map of the oil wells under Los Angeles today, which you can explore to find the well next door to you: That large blob of black dots right under Culver City is the Inglewood oilfield, the largest urban oilfield in the U.
You may have passed it on La Cienega on your way to the airport, and vaguely wondered at its strange landscape of bobbing pump jacks which seemed frozen in time. Well, they are frozen no more. After years of declining production which culminated in plans being drawn up in the s to shut down the oilfield and turn it into the Central Park of South L.
Freeport McMoRan is probably not your ideal new neighbor. As owners of the largest gold mine in the world, in Indonesia, they have a long history of environmental, human rights, and political corruption scandals, as summarized by the New York Times. By dumping up totons of toxic waste each day into nearby rivers, their Grasberg mine has devastated the local ecosystem. They brought this same attitude of disregard for the environment and public health to their recent U.
But it's similar in my mind to how we found out about cigarette smoking and cancer. It wasn't that we did a study and found out oh no look cigarettes cause cancer, it was 40, 50 years of ah There's the young urban gas jock making a bundle on a rig outside Fort Worth.
There will be holes in the ground and we will be there. Jacki Schilke is also blaming fracking for her failing health. They could give a crap less what they are doing here. They will come on your property look you straight in the eye and lie to you. It's not bigger than Texas - it is Texas There's a strange twisted beauty here.
It's more than just a complex multi-layered web of inter-connecting freeways - it's a monument to America's energy paradox. In a car dependent nation, dependent on others for fuel, the high five loops and rolls out over some of the richest shale fields in the Lone Star State.
Energy and Oil Production
And that means the new neighbour moving into the suburbs around here may well be a drilling rig. You don't have to travel far to witness a collision between community and commerce, family and industry. This is Southlake - a prosperous community on the outskirts of Dallas.
A few years ago Forbes magazine named this the most affluent neighbourhood in the United States - a place where usually money talks. But right now the talk's all about the riches of the Barnett shale field underneath suburbs like Southlake, home to Dr Gordon Aalund and his family.
Things like napthene and benzene which we know are linked to leukaemia The emergency room doctor and his band of suburban activists often gather here at the local Mexican restaurant with their children to discuss the perils of a process they may not have even heard of a few years ago even in oil savvy Texas - fracking. Neighbours like Diane Harris and her family. There is no amount of money that will convince me that we should have this in the middle of our neighbourhood".
It wasn't that we did a study and found out oh no look cigarettes cause cancer! It was 40, 50 years of exposure". The process that so worries the doctor is hailed by the industry as the key to energy independence. The drill holes can go three kilometres down and then push out horizontally for kilometres as well. A cocktail of more than five hundred chemicals, millions of litres of water and truckloads of sand is then used to break up the shale and release gas and oil.
The process has transformed the energy business in a few short years. But the jury's out on its impact on the environment and people's health. Nobody's done drilling in an urban setting and studied the long term effects of what's going to happen. And so again it comes back to my health, clean air, clean water. Those are things that we can't live without. We could all live without gas royalties". It's not worth it. The risks are not worth the reward.
I knew that if I didn't act and if gas drilling occurred near my home and one of my children got sick I would never forgive myself". As many Southlaker's school themselves up on the fracking process, this documentary has been proving popular at the local Blockbuster.
It's called 'Gasland' and this is its most famous scene. Many, many families and people started to realise oh my water's turning black, my water's bubbling, something smells funny, my kids are getting sick.
They're all comparing information and then they discover low and behold that they can light their water on fire right out of the tap".
Josh Fox is the Gasland guru. It's hard to overestimate the impact of his heartfelt, homespun yet very powerful documentary.
Josh Fox has become the anti-fracking pin up, an inspiration for those fighting big oil and a serious challenge to the industry. Oil and gas pushes people around. It's bullying, it's aggressive, it gets its way. It's about time we're done with that way of doing business, with the culture of that because it is literally toxic in every aspect.
It is toxic to the environment and it is toxic to our political process". Here in Texas they're used to big oil. For generations oil and cattle have forged the formidable Texas character. And here, not far from Southlake, at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo the crowd loves their cowboys and the big oil operators that bring jobs and prosperity. God bless XTO thanks a bunch". But the pace of the fracking frenzy makes a wild bucking bronco seem sedate.
In just a few years, drilling rigs have sprouted up through the Texas suburbs like towering hills hoists - across from shopping centres, close to schools - otherwise residential neighbourhoods have become industrial zones.
Films Media Group - Meet the Frackers: Energy Independence or Environmental Nightmare?
When the fracking starts, trucks gather round the well. The sand, water and chemical mix is pushed deep underground at extremely high pressure. Escaping vapour drifts in the wind. I see a lot of injuries. I've seen somebody actually get blown all the way back from a blowout. I've seen one guy die on a blow out". Dangerous, even deadly, but lucrative.
Meet the Frackers, Los Angeles
Fracking is now underway in 34 states in the US. And urban cowboy Taylor Hinkle is just one of those cashing in on the new energy boom on a Fort Worth rig. Once you decide to do it, once you get into the full force of it you aint got no choice but to follow it around cause you don't know anything else.
When I was younger I always said it would never happen to me - once you get a taste of that money it's addictive". Taylor Hinkle is working on a drilling rig just a few miles from the Dallas Fort Worth Airport and just a stones' throw from new housing developments. If there was a problem on this location, say somebody like sparked lighter in the wrong place or you know a spark was discharged from a piece of equipment you know.
If this well was to blow up, who's to say that gas is not going to ignite underneath the ground and blow twenty different ones up around the airport". And that's the rub. There's a lot about what's happening under there that has people worried and has the oil companies on the defensive. So there are lots of things that go into these standards that I think address a lot of the issues people have been raising".
The Geological Society
One of the issues is chemical injection. The other issue is simply connecting the layers between these zones which are toxic to ground water, very far under the ground where you have gas, oil, volatile organic compounds, benzene, tylene, ethyl benzene - normally occurring radioactive material. And what you've just done is you have created a connecting straw between layers that nature separated out millions of years ago with the ground water".
The fracking process was invented by Halliburton, a company later run by Dick Cheney for some years before he became George W Bush's vice president.
And you ask the industry do casings fail? And they say of course It has not bought harmony to Southlake, let's put it that way".
In Southlake the fracking furore has provoked argument and insult. If I can't have it you can't have it either. A lot of that is happening.
It's not just the people in Southlake, Americans are just afraid of their shadows". The suburb is split between angry opponents and fervent supporters like, oddly enough, lifelong democrat Zena Rucker. And little by little as the yuppies, then the dot comers came into town, we used to say they get a little money in their pocket and they change". Zena Rucker is one of the original land holders here. She considers herself a dedicated environmentalist and a conscientious conserver.