Josh Fox, creator of the documentary Gasland
, a 2010 Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Feature, visited the Harrisburg campus on Monday, April 18th for a screening of the film followed by a question and answer session. The Student Bar Association
, the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic
, and the Environmental Law and Policy Society
sponsored the event.
A reception for Fox in the Administration Building preceded the showing of the film. Students enjoyed the opportunity to ask Fox questions and to take pictures with him.
The screening of the film took place in A180 of the administration building, and it was also shown in the Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom on the Delaware campus. The two-hour documentary chronicled Fox’s travels across the United States to visit people whose lives had been affected by natural gas drilling.
The genesis of the project occurred when Fox received a letter from a natural gas company offering to lease his family’s land for compensation. After the offer, he looked up information concerning the Marcellus Shale, which runs under Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia. The Marcellus Shale holds natural gas that many gas companies are anxious to retrieve.
After his initial research, he visited families in Dimock, Pennsylvania where natural gas drilling had already started. He found that people there were becoming sick because of contaminated well water that was a result of the natural gas drilling. Fox then traveled the country to see the impact of natural gas drilling on other communities in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Texas.
After the film, Fox gave a presentation and showed a gallon of the contaminated water featured in the film. He explained that, “We are in a moment where a real choice needs to be made about how we are going to deal with this crisis.”
He mentioned current Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett believes that there is no problem, but Fox noted that he receives hundreds of emails a week about people reporting these problems. After visiting 120 cities, he finds the same problems over and over again.
He told the students, “I hope some of you are the type of lawyers that are preparing to get people out of jail or get out of jail yourselves. Look at history. When did anything ever change without civil struggle?”
Following the presentation, he entertained questions. One audience member asked whether there would be a Gasland 2
. Fox said that there would be a Gasland 2
and that it would include many scenes that were cut out of the original film, including more of the Senate hearing, a huge explosion sequence, and a car chase which involved a truck throwing the contaminated water onto the side of the road.
“We never stopped shooting, said Fox, adding, “We are still shooting. We taped yesterday and we’ll be taping tomorrow. I do know that the focus of the next film is going to be Stand and Fight, or Move. What are you going to do?”