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'Gasland' nominated for an Oscar

"Gasland," the controversial film on oil shale, fracking and natural gas development, has been nominated for an Oscar for best documentary feature. The film, which won a special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival, explores the natural gas industry in 24 states, including Wyoming.

The film portrays the natural gas industry, and fracking in particular, as dangerous and underregulated. The filmmaker, Josh Fox, is shown standing near Wyoming's Jonah Field wearing a gas mask and playing "This Land is Your Land" on a banjo.

In one of the more compelling visuals, a Fort Lupton, Colo., homeowner demonstrates how the water from his tap can be set on fire and blames the flames on nearby gas production.
The natural gas industry in turn claims that "Gasland" is "short on facts and long on misinformation and innuendo," as Ed Ireland, executive director of the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council described it. Ireland dismissed the movie, saying, "It should have been classified as fiction" instead of as a documentary.

Tom Amontree, the executive vice president of America's Natural Gas Alliance, said the film contained "gross and deliberate misrepresentations."

The footage of the flaming tap water was singled out as being misleading. In July, Denver news station KMGH revealed that there was a history of naturally occurring, or biogenic, methane in groundwater in Colorado's Weld County.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Commission reported that there were no indications of any impact on the well from oil and gas operations. Colorado state health officials said the levels - while high enough to ignite at the tap - were not high enough to cause health problems.

Tagged in: Documentary



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