Promised Land, the new anti-fracking film starring Matt Damon, may have more difficulty polarizing opinion against fracking than environmentalists would have thought.
Fracking, the process that shoots water, sand and chemicals into shale-rock formations to force out oil and gas, has been demonized by environmentalists as a catalyst for polluting drinking water.
In the film, Damon is an energy company agent who tries to talk townspeople into allowing fracking on their land, and John Krasinski is the citizen fighting back.
Those who support fracking point out that one of the companies financing the film, Image Nation Abu Dhabi, is a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Media, from the United Arab Emirates, and thus has an interest in stifling American energy independence. Despite attempts by anti-fracking groups like Environment America to vilify the process, (John Rumpler, their senior attorney, said, “Spoiler alert: The truth about fracking is even worse than what you see in the movie. Dirty drilling operations have contaminated drinking water and made nearby residents sick”), groups supporting fracking have employed a clever strategy by running ads in theaters before the movie starts which show where theatergoers can get accurate information about the process.
The Marcellus Shale Coalition has employed the ads across Pennsylvania, where fracking is already yielding dividends. Steve Forde, their vice-president for policy and communication, said of the film, “Certainly, this is another attempt by opponents of responsible natural gas drilling to characterize our industry in a way that the facts don’t bear out.”
Energy in Depth, a pro-fracking group, has a website titled “The Real Promised Land” which explains facts about fracking.
The Heritage Foundation has also joined in the chorus of pro-fracking groups, saying,
Hydraulic fracturing has increased the United States’ domestic supply of crude oil and natural gas in areas such as the Bakken shale formation and has the potential to increase domestic production much more in the foreseeable future. That means more oil on the market, and hence lower prices for a globally traded commodity.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration has the Interior Department working on rules which would require more requirements on using federal lands and the EPA is spending time examining how fracking affects drinking water.