At first nod, it doesn’t seem like the kind of topic that makes for a good movie: Sending thousands of gallons of water, sand and chemicals deep down a pipe to extract natural gas and oil. Known as fracking, the practice has polarized at least two camps: the oil-and-gas industry who believes it holds the promise of America’s energy independence (already it’s lowered natural gas prices and reduced the burning of carbon-producing coal); and environmentalist who claim the chemicals are contaminating the environment and causing earthquakes.
Hollywood has now weighed in to this debate with the recent release of Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land. Starring Matt Damon and Frances McDormand (the novelist Dave Eggers wrote the first draft), the movie chronicles a salesman’s effort to sell fracking to America’s small towns as a panacea for the economic blues.
Back in July on FORA.tv, Intelligence Squared U.S. presented both sides of this contentious debate. First up, Joe Nocera, columnist for the New York Times, asserted that fracking improves our global security by ending our dependence on foreign oil:
But Deborah Goldberg of Earth Justice said that fracking is an overhyped initiative that will continue to feed our addiction to fossil fuels and further deteriorate our environment: