Residents Of This Pennsylvania Town Are Saying An Oscar-Nominated Documentary Torpedoed Their Economy

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Photo: Flickr / billypalooza

In 2010, Josh Fox’s film Gasland was nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary.The film depicts the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, at one point showing Fox igniting gas from a well water faucet in his home with a cigarette lighter, apparently as a result of the drilling.

According to a new story by BusinessWeek’s Roben Farzad, it also plunged the economy of Wayne County, Pa, back into the abyss.

“Fox and an alliance of conservation groups called on the Delaware River Basin Commission to ban the practice in Wayne County,” Farzad writes. “They argued that the drilling technology, which involves injecting high-pressure jets of water and chemicals into underground rock formations, would pollute the river’s 14,000-square-mile basin, a source of drinking water for 15 million people.”

The opposition worked: drillers started pulling out of the county, and a year later the commission announced that it would cease issuing permits until the full impact of the drilling could be studied

“…the moratorium [came] out of left field and the leases [stopped],” one local landowner tells Farzad. “Now we’re just sitting on it.”

Click here to read Farzad’s full story.

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