The gas drilling debate takes another hit home when Hollywood premieres “Promised Land.” The story is based in a depressed dairy farming town in western Pennsylvania, and though the topic of gas extraction is a heated one this past year, the same discussion is all over the United States.
Some big names are in this film — Matt Damon and John Krasinski — but will that prompt the important discussion about environmental impacts?
Christy Lemire from the Associated Press suggests the ecological debates in the movie don’t dig too deep, and though the movie has a pro-environmental agenda, it is too light to tell at times.
Right now in Pennsylvania, we have the first ever impact fees on the gas companies in the Marcellus Shale, in addition to stronger environmental protection and the disclosure of what chemicals are used in hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as fracking. Gov. Tom Corbett signed Act 13 last February, but residents are waiting to see the impact of the update.
Up north, Juan Gonzalez from the New York Daily News urges New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to see “Promised Land” before deciding whether or not to end a statewide moratorium.
This isn’t the first film to tackle the fracking debate or have a Pennsylvania town in trouble as its star. “Gasland” by Josh Fox is a documentary of a northern Pa. town where the residents can light their water on fire.
However, Michael Rubinkam from the Associated Press points out that there is little explanation about the gas drilling and its impacts, and more about companies getting permission from farm owners to use their land to drill. It is a double-edged sword, Rubinkam explains, as the drilling companies inject millions of dollars into local economies (still struggling from the recession) but sometime neighbors complain about ruined water wells and environmental degradation.
It seems that the debate always ends back on the environment and how gas extraction will make an impact on the well-being of communities and the environment.
What is your stance on fracking and gas drilling? Will you see “Promised Land” this weekend? For show times, read this week’s FlipSidePa.