Gasland is a documentary film written and directed by Josh Fox which explores the practice of hydraulic fracturing, a widespread method used in drilling for natural gas in the United States.

Hydraulic fracturing, often referred to as ‘fracking’ (yes, like in Battlestar Galactica), fractures rock in order to get at natural gas deposits in shale reservoirs. Environmental concerns associated with fracking include the contamination of groundwater, issues with air quality, greenhouse gas emissions and areas surrounding sites becoming polluted with natural gas and toxic chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process.

Gasland starts out a bit haphazard, as if Fox doesn’t really know what he’s doing, but after a short while it really picks up. He’s been offered a tidy sum to allow natural gas drilling rights on his property in rural Pennsylvania, but has heard bad things about the process and the affects it has on the environment and on the health of the people who live near the gas wells. So he decides to check it out.

What Fox discovers is that since the Bush-Cheney administration took office in 2001, American land, private and perhaps more shockingly, supposedly protected federal public land has been extensively opened up for fracking, and made exempt from the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. The list of complaints is as long as it is shocking: gas clouds hanging over someone’s house, household water that smells like turpentine, highly flammable natural gas coming out of faucets and a variety of serious health complaints.

That’s what you get when you let an industry regulate itself and cut the claws off the Environmental Protection Agency. BP, Exxon and Halliburton make tons of money, ruin environments and destroy lives.

Watch the trailer for Gasland below.

Additional resources:

Official Gasland website

Gasland review from Variety