It's a movie this time sparking environmental discussion and debate. Promised Land, written by and starring Matt Damon and John Krasinski, is a fictional account of a town struggling with whether to allow natural gas drilling, known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking. The industry claims this method opens up gas wells and ensures a long-term clean and inexpensive energy source. It also points out that states, towns, and individuals stand to profit financially. Environmentalists say fracking can pollute water and air and is unsafe.
The movie takes place in a small town in Pennsylvania, where in real life Marcellus shale is being tapped to release its riches a couple miles or so underground . I have yet to see Promised Land, but most critics seem unimpressed.
NPR explained the gist of the film. "In the real world, there are significant environmental concerns surrounding gas drilling and fracking. In the movie, these criticisms emerge at a town hall meeting. A high school science teacher, played by Hal Holbrook, interrupts a local politician who's a less-than-honest cheerleader for the gas industry. The teacher encourages residents to Google the word "fracking" to research the process and its effects.
"Later, a man who bills himself as an environmentalist, played by John Krasinski, comes to town. He stokes the opposition and delivers a simplistic and misleading demonstration of fracking and drilling to a class of grade-school kids." (http://www.npr.org/2013/01/04/168562019/drilling-for-facts-under-the-promised-land-fiction)
I've been critical of the way the industry has made its case to a doubting public. On July 23 I wrote, “'The debate is becoming very emotional. And basically not using science' on either side, said Avner Vengosh, a Duke University professor studying groundwater contamination who has been praised and criticized by both sides....