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“Promised Land” meets opposition from oil and gas groups

Published: Tue, January 8, 2013 @ 12:02 a.m.

‘promised land’

Advertisements direct movie viewers to various websites

By Jamison Cocklin



A Pennsylvania-based oil and gas trade group launched a two-week campaign Friday to coincide with the release of the film “Promised Land” to highlight the differences between the movie’s fictional portrayal of the industry and how it actually operates.

The Marcellus Shale Coalition purchased a series of 15-second advertisements to run during movie previews across Pennsylvania, where the film takes place.

The advertisements direct viewers to the group’s Learn About Shale platform online. The coalition is also targeting social media with factual information to counter Promised Land’s cinematic effect in once again driving a controversial wedge into what has recently been a relatively tame debate about the fracking process across the country.

“This film is purely a work of fiction and is not reflective of the work our industry undertakes — all done within an aggressive and effective regulatory framework,” the group wrote in a press release.

MSC is not alone in its efforts. Last month, the industry outreach group Energy InDepth launched an informational website called “The Real Promised Land,” aimed at providing talking points and featuring positive testimonials from landowners in rural areas touting the beneficial impact the oil and gas boom has had on their communities.

“Promised Land,” directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Matt Damon and John Krasinski, depicts a landman charged with the task of arriving in a small Pennsylvania town in economic decline to negotiate mineral rights with landowners.

Some of the film’s characters are eager, and others are deeply reluctant to sign the leases that give oil and gas companies a right to frack on their property, a process by which water, sand and chemicals are pumped into shale rock formations below the earth to extract the oil and gas trapped inside.

Though the film was intended to be objective, neither opposing or supporting the industry at large, in reality, the landman’s job, as portrayed by Damon, has caused rifts in many communities across the country where the gas boom has taken place, including here in the Mahoning Valley.

Travis Windle, a spokesman for the MSC, said his group’s goal in airing the advertisements was to “insure that folks who see this film understand that in no way shape or form does it reflect how the natural-gas industry conducts its business.”

Meanwhile, blog posts and an uptick in social- media activity are evident on both sides of the film’s quarrelsome effects.

Not since the 2010 release of the documentary “Gasland” has a movie pushed the fracking debate back into the mainstream and many of the film’s critics have expressed positive reviews for its plot line while disparaging its scientific accuracy.

But others, such as Jane Spies, a member of Frack Free Mahoning Valley, who saw the film on opening night with other activists, said “Promised Land” is not about the science of hydraulic fracturing, but rather the sociological effects on the broader community.

“Matt Damon wanted to start a conversation, and we’ve been calling for that,” she said. “We would like a national dialogue, and we welcome this movie. I don’t really think they said anything that wasn’t based in scientific reality, of course the industry isn’t taking to this film; it’s raising some truths that they might not like to hear because it’s based in reality.”

The film largely flopped at theaters nationwide on its opening weekend, coming in last with only $4.3 million in ticket sales, compared with the No. 1 film, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” which grossed $23 million.

In Youngstown, though, employees at area theaters said the film was a strong performer over the weekend, but no sales reports were immediately available Monday.


1UsuallyBlunt(105 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago


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276Ytown(1318 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Matt Damon wanted to start a conversation, .... “We would like a national dialogue,

@danikkytn says talk to the people that have experienced this..

So let's start the conversation. Of course the fracking industry is going to push back. They have the big bucks to sell the idea. The valley has been desperate for jobs for so many years. but are we selling our souls to the devil? This deal might look a whole lot better if the way to remove the gas from the earth did not involve injecting toxic chemicals into the wells and the release of methane gas into the air.

They may want you to think that fracking is perfectly safe. The EPA doesn't plan to address one contentious issue — how often drinking water contamination might occur. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01...

Fracking requires large quantities of fresh water. Fracking the Marcellus will require many billions of gallons of water over the next 15 years. This water can be withdrawn from lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands, ponds, and wells. Because the water becomes contaminated, it may never be returned to the watershed.

Our water supply is finite Although water covers about 70 percent of the Earth, less than 1 percent is available as freshwater for human use. Surface water—such as that in lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and streams—is the primary water source for humans. Groundwater—that is, water underground in aquifers (highly permeable rocks, soil, and sand)—can be extracted through wells or found as springs. Technically speaking, groundwater resources exceed salt-free surface water on Earth, but humans use surface water more often because it is easier to access in large quantities.

Wells can be fracked up to 10 times. Marcellus wells are long lived. They will remain active for decades, up to 40 years... Then what? http://shaleshock.org/drilling-101/

And what will the future look like for our children and grandchildren?

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3Attis(1025 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

thank you 76Ytown for these indisputable facts and sound reasoning. The problem of course is that the corporate vultures doing the fracking and their pro-fracking cheerleaders within public office have no regard for facts (which they fabricate); the truth (which they seclude); and sound reasoning (which they hate). Sheer greed and political prostitution drive this madness.

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4DSquared(1531 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

I'm still waiting for the Vindy to publish an article about AlGore the Hypocrite, who just sold his crappy network to Al-Jazera, the Terrorist Network funded by Big Dirty Oil Money for $500 MIllion, with Gore getting $100 Million of it for himself. A true Patriot, this numbnutz who was almost selected to be potus, is showing his true spots. Once again proving liberals cannot be trusted with the security of this nation! C'mon Vindy, step up! I know it hurts!

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5kurtw(1419 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

I like the response of the post- "show me the specific places in PA" ruined by fracking.

I go to PA all the time and I haven't seen an environmental catastrophe yet connected with fracking.

Where is it- lead me there. I'm waiting to be convinced. The people in PA are not idiots- they're not about to be let themselves be willingly "raped" by greedy Capitalists as the Left likes to suggest.

Hydraulic Fracturing has been going on for 60 years safely and we have environmental laws in place to protect the public interest.

Again, this is another example of a "manufactured" crisis concocted by the left to disparage and, they hope, ultimately destroy the Capitalist System.

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6kurtw(1419 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Re: 76Ytown. Congratulations! You've done it. In your entire long post they're isn't a single verifiable fact- they're isn't anything supported by evidence: quoting sources, giving evidence, etc. It's just one long, off the top of my head, rant.

Again, I wish I had that kind of consistency. It makes about as much sense as the post that said PA was being decimated by Fracking without giving specific locations.

The Anti-fracking Crusade is just that- A Crusade- a Religious Movement.

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776Ytown(1318 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

reply to kurtw: " The people in PA are not idiots- they're not about to be let themselves be willingly "raped" by greedy Capitalists as the Left likes to suggest."

No, the people in Pa they are not idiots and neither are the people of the valley, but, we need to gather all the facts before being lured into this decision strictly by money.

I cited my sources in the links provided and I'm adding this one: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/...


As of 2012, fracking is exempt from seven major federal regulations:[7]

The Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act, due to the "Halliburton loophole" pushed through by former Vice-President/former Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney, exempting corporations from revealing the chemicals used in fracking fluid;
the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which exempts fracking from federal regulations pertaining to hazardous waste;
the Superfund law, which requires that polluters remediate for carcinogens like benzene released into the environment, except if they come from oil or gas;
the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act;
the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act;
the National Environmental Policy Act; and
the Toxic Release Inventory under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.

As of February 2012, only four of 31 fracking states have significant drilling rules. Five states have adopted disclosure rules, although they still allow for "proprietary trade secrets."[8]

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