Synopsis by Mark Deming
As American energy firms look for new sources of petroleum, natural gas has become an increasingly important part of their portfolios, especially after the 2005 Energy Policy Act (created with the participation of Dick Cheney, a former executive with energy giants Halliburton) removed environmental protection restrictions against hydraulic fracturing drilling (known in the trade as "fracking"). Since then, gas drilling has been sharply on the rise, and when Josh Fox, a theatrical director and filmmaker, was offered $100,000 for the gas rights to family property on the Delaware River Basis in Pennsylvania, he was curious about the possible effects of drilling. Fox set out to talk to other property owners about what he could expect, and their answers startled him -- fracking taints water sources near drilling sites, and many households have discovered their water is not only undrinkable after gas drilling, it's even flammable. It turns out this is just the tip of the iceberg of the environmental damage done by reckless gas drilling, and in his documentary Gasland, Fox travels to 34 states and talks to dozens of property owners and environmental experts on the under-reported menace of fracking and the truth about the dangers of natural gas. Gasland was an official selection at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.