Saturday, April 19, 2014

(infographic) Water contamination in NE PA is far worse than anyone knew

I spent 2 days working on this map, and consulted with 4 confidential sources,
as well data-mining Laura Legere's RTK request published a year ago in
the Scranton Times Tribune.

Bottom line: The Water Contamination from drilling/fracking in Northeast Pennsylvania
is far worse than anyone knew...
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Note: YOU are one of the first people to see this map.
No one has any idea how bad this is.

Please share this on social media & send this to your press contacts.
Send this to your elected officials.

My family is from Bradford County.
40 years ago, this place had the sweetest water on Planet Earth.
Now, the place is becoming a contaminated wasteland.

Can you please help get the word out about this?  911 (Urgent Crisis)


May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

911 -- Emergency! Water contamination map NE PA

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The contamination in NE Pennsylvania from gas drilling 
is far worse than anyone knows. 

I am sorry.
I am only the messenger.

Townships in Bradford and Susquehanna County with known or suspected cases
of water contamination from gas drilling and fracking.

Here is a DREADFUL new map.
I wish this were not true.
I am sick inside.

The brown townships all have known sites of water contamination.
I used the following criteria:

1) At least one site with an external water tank ("water buffalo") receiving replacement water
2) Water filtration system installed due to contamination
3) PA DEP complaint
4) PA DEP positive determination letter 

All of these townships were first identified by Laura Legere, Scranton Times Tribune, in the May 19, 2013 article, "Sunday Times review of DEP drilling records reveals water damage, murky testing methods".

For the purpose of this map, I included, not just the positive determinations (gas drilling known to be the cause of the problem), but also all complaints. Why? Two reasons. 

1) Complaints are more objective than PA DEP determinations. We have seen MANY instances where the PA DEP under Gov. Corbett have colluded with industry, falsified test results, and failed to perform due dilligance in protecting the rights of the Citizens of the Commonwealth to clean air and water.  
2) PA DEP "positive determinations" are political, not scientific. When the PA DEP issues a "positive determination", it is solely because the distance between the water well and the vertical shale-gas well bore is within 2,500'ft, as determined by Act 13. This number (2,500'ft) was determined politically and not scientifically. 
One problem with the dataset is that it is heavily redacted. In almost every request, the name of the homeowner and the address were redacted. This is one reason for the per-township granularity.

Also, there are 9 townships in Bradford County,  plus 7 townships in Susquehanna County where precise locations of the sites have been determined and the names of the impacted persons known, ether by myself, or one of four confidential sources I used for this report.

A word about using confidential sources:

There are many reasons why people who get water contamination prefer to be anonymous. Here are a few:

  • Gas industry bullies will attack you (as the Sautners were attacked by Phelim McAleer and Energy in Depth).
  • Your neighbors with gas-leases will ostracize you. "Why do you want to make trouble and ruin this for all of us? Just keep your mouth shut and you'll be taken care of."
  • Your home is your largest investment. If it becomes known that your township, and your property specifically, has water contamination, your home will become worthless.

I will work with bona fide journalists, and scientific investigators in identifying my sources if a promise is made to respect the privacy of the victims.

I would say I could, fairly easily,  get precise locations for some sites in about 16 townships.
(9 in Bradford and 7 in Susquehanna Co.) subject to privacy concerns.

This map shocked me.

I try to be well informed of what is going on in Pennsylvania.
However: This map shocked me.

I know that some of my confidential sources who live in the Gasfields of PA and are extremely well informed, also had no idea the extent of the water contamination.

NE PA is only 2% to 20% developed.


Note Well: I am not saying the entire (brown) township has bad water.I am only saying that each brown township has at least one site of water contamination.
Each site may contain several affected homes.
Several township have multiple sites, each with multiple homes.

It would be a huge task to get precise locations for these sites.

A large bulk came from Laura Legere's RTK request,
which came back heavily redacted

(no precise address).

Weighted map:

Based on feedback from my colleague Cris McConkey, I decided to try an attempt at a weighted map, which shows the townships according to the number of complaints filed with the PA DEP according to the Laura Legere / Scranton Times Tribune RTK dataset. 

I used a powers-of-two scale, so that each step shows approximately double the number of complaints in the previous step. 

Weighted presentation (no wells)
Weighted presentation (with wells)


Out of these totals:

29 of 37 townships in Bradford Co.  (78% of all townships in the county)

15 of 27 townships in Susquehanna Co. (56% of all townships in the county)


44 of 64 (69%) total towns in two counties with contaminated water.


When I look at the map of Susquehanna County and Bradford County with all those holes, it reminds me of passing a road-sign which has been shot with bullet holes.

So my last word for the frackers who are shooting up the land I hold to be precious:

Press Contact: William Huston,
Phone: 607-321-7846

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

The People to FERC: Stop Rubber Stamping Gas Infrastructure Projects!

(Washington, DC) Today, a group delivered petitions to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) from 105,000 Americans which say,

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission does not serve our needs by promoting #fracking with #fossilfuel infrastructure. NO MORE RUBBER STAMPS!"

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cabot CEO talking about "Exit Strategy" !!!

4Q2013 Cabot Investory Call 2-21-14
Drew Venker - Morgan Stanley

I was hoping you would talk about whether there's anything unusual driving your wider differentials year to date, if there's any infrastructure outages or if this is just more related to volume growth from the region?

Where's all that damn gas you promised us?
Dan Dinges - Chairman, President and CEO

Well, predominantly related to the volume growth in the region. The differential is a real phenomenon.
We have a plan in place with our exit strategy out of Susquehanna County
Certainly, going to be a little bit of time before we reach that milestone,
but it's predominantly related to the growth in the area.

Look man, this place is nearly tapped-out.

There's a big mess here, in case you haven't seen the news.
The Eco-NIMBY's are killing us in the press,
and frankly, we're lookin' to get the hell out of Dodge
PDQ, before there's a lynching.

The Gasbag Bully: Letter #1

Frank G. Chernega of Endicott

This is the first in a DREADFUL series,
Where I get inside the mind of a Gasbag Bully 
named Frank G. Chernega.

He lives in Endicott and has a solar panel. 
Watch out! If he finds out you like solar energy,
and you don't have one on your roof,
he might try to hit you with his!!

unless you have something ready to VOMIT into.

Weird thing: The Press and Sun Bulletin LOVES this guy!
They print his letters all the time.

Only they are FILLED with factual errors,  
►logical fallacies, ad hominem / attacking the man. 

There is virtually NOTHING Frank gets right!
I'm not kidding. I will show you.

Whereas, I send them skillfully written letters
and Guest Viewpoints with factual information
about the dangers of gas drilling with my unique,
original research and perspective.

Why do they print Frank's pro-gas letters,
but not my pro-clean-air-and-water letters?

What is the source of their Bias?
Have the illustrious Binghamton Press and the Sun Bulletin
de-volved into just a advertisment delivery device?
A pro-business "Daily Shopper" disguised as a "News"?

How pathetic that would be.
I feel a technicolor HURL coming on...

Let's hope that's not really true
and they will demonstrate some integrity here:
a duty to truth
and not just commerce,
and violence.

First the letter, then footnotes.
Get that barf bag out...

Gasbag Letter #1:

5-19-2013  N.Y. laws on drilling will be tighter than Pa.’s

Carol Egan’s May 14 antidrilling letter1 about her gas drill pad survey trip to Pennsylvania may reflect what is present there, but the contrary will be true here in New York.

She stated that “Some sites had a runoff pond.” According to Department of Environmental Conservation law2: “Flowback water is prohibited from being directed to or stored in any on-site pit or impoundment. Covered watertight steel tanks or covered watertight tanks constructed of another material approved by the department are required for flowback handling and containment on the well pad.” 3

She also states it takes one to two years to construct a well, but every source that I’ve ever seen it states that it takes 12 to 15 weeks to complete a drill pad, and the drilling of a well bore takes but a few weeks.

She alluded to drill pad locations, too. The DEC gives a complete and in-depth analysis of drill pad siting and how it takes extreme measures to protect all our water supplies.

Egan is well advised to study the DEC website to see how drilling will be done in New York to overcome her serious case of NIMBY. 4




To help you understand the various arguments, we are coding each logical fallacy with an icon representing the fallacy or twisted logic.
Ad Hominem:
"Attack the Man"
Straw Man: A false
characterization erected
as a distraction

1: "Anti" is name calling. Most people whom I know who are fighting gas drilling do not define themselves as an "Anti". This is a name (ad hominem) that people like Gas PR Hitman Tom Shepstone developed to use against us.

He calls us "anti-gas" or "anti-development".
His friend Vic Furman sarcastically says he represents New York Residents Against Development. NO-- we prefer to define ourselves in terms of a Positive, Shared Values. This is Clean Air and Water.  Even Vic Furman, Tom Shepstone, and Frank "Gasbag" Chernega like clean water to drink.

He starts out, rather than just commenting on what Carol Egan says, he calls her letter "antidrilling", which evokes a certain feeling in a target audience: poor local landowners. They have been conditioned FOR YEARS to feel hatred for the ECO NIMBY BLUE-BLOODS who HATE GAS and OPPOSE ALL DEVELOPMENT and are depriving US of opportunity, jobs, clean burning domestic fuel. So calling Carol's letter "anti-drilling" evokes a kind of prejudice, and maybe hatred. -- ONLY THING IS-- none of those things are true. It is 100% propaganda, and FALSE and defamation, and name-calling.

Suggestion #1: The Press and Sun should not print letters with personal attacks or name-calling.
2: There is no such thing as "Department of Environmental Conservation law". That is meaningless gibberish.

There is the The Department of Environmental Conservation. This is a cabinet-level regulatory agency under the Governor.  This agency must implement the law passed by the Legislature

Then there is Environmental Conservation Law (ECL). This the NY state law passed by the Legislature, which is a representative body of the People.

Suggestion #2: The Press and Sun should do basic fact-checking before publication.
Pure Steaming
Field Putty
3: What Frank is quoting here is not law. It is not even regulations. There are no regulations on the books in NY regulating shale gas drilling!. This is, in fact, the PROPOSED REGULATION 6 NYCRR 560.6(c)(27). These proposed regulations have expired, and are dead. There is no way they will be moved into effect without restarting the process outlined by the State Administrative Procedure Act.

Helen Slottje explains all about the rdSGEIS and the proposed Regs in detail here:
Suggestion #3: The Press and Sun should do basic fact-checking before publication. 

4: "NIMBY" is just more name calling. 

Suggestion #4: The Press and Sun should not print letters with personal attacks or name-calling. Letters should stick to the facts.


This has all come about because the Press and Sun Bulletin apparently refuses to print my letter about the Unconstitutional Pipeline.

I have have followed this project from the beginning. I have attended and recorded nearly every public hearing on this project. I have done tons of original research about this project.

This project will have GRAVE regional impacts.

I have thoroughly studied FERC's Draft Environmental Impact Study, and it is highly defective. The hearings that were held at the beginning of April are the subject of a Guest Viewpoint I submitted, but which the Press (apparently) refuses to print. Chris Kocher, the editor of the Opinion Pages claims that "Letters can drive civic engagement", but not if the Press refuses to print them.

I have a pretty good idea that my letter is being blocked by the Business editor Jeff Platsky. Let's just say that Jeff has blocked me, and even attacked me personally in the past.

So I would appreciate it if you would call the Press and Sun Bulletin, and ask them to "Print Bill Huston's Letter about the Unconstitutional Pipeline". Thanks.

  • Opinion Pages: Chris Kocher (607) 798-1327 
  • Business Editor: Jeff Plattsky (607) 798-1178
  • Executive Editor: Neill A. Borowski (607) 798-1186
  • If you don't reach a human: try calling: Newsdesk: (607) 798-1151  


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Why won't the Press+Sun Bulletin publish my letters?

The Press and Sun Bulletin has a love affair with GAS BULLY Frank George Chernega, despite that his letters are filled with misinformation, factual errors, and name-calling. Here's a summary of the last few I could find:
  • 5/19/13 letter 193 words
    N.Y. laws on drilling will be tighter than Pa.’s
  • 6-23-13 Guest Viewpoint 462 words
    ‘Gasland 2’ filled with lies and omissions
  • 9/11/13 Guest viewpoint  470 words
    Claims ignore history of fracking in New York

  • 10/8/13:  Guest viewpoint 351 words
    Gas company funding does not invalidate studies'
  •  2-18-14 Guest Viewpoint 489 words
    Greenhouse gas study on fracking has many flaws

Whereas here are the last few letters I've sent, which they have refused to published:
  • 7/31/12 "Response to Jon Campbell "No difference in public's fracking opinion" 7-28-2012
  • 8/31/12 Gas Industry Inciting Violence Against Fractivists
  • 9/5/12 Has Binghamton's water already been affected by Fracking?
  • 04/11/14 The Unconstitutional Pipeline

Is it me? A personal ban? (I know Jeff Platsky hates me, and blocked his paper from investigating the story of 98 unconventional gas wells WITHIN the headwaters of the Binghamton City water supply, is it "wasn't news").

Or is Frank George Chernega a plant? an PAID industry SHILL? A PR "spin doctor"?

Many of us have suspected this since he first showed up on the scene about a year ago.
Why? Because he is a bully like other paid shills (Energy in Depth, Tom Shepstone) who uses name-calling, defamation, and personal attacks rather than substance.

He also uses a very strange kind of logic which is widely seen in those PR Professionals following the Gas Industry "PR Playbook", but is rarely seen amongst normal persons.

So if Frank G. Chernega is a paid shill, then maybe the PSB is paid to print his bullshit?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

How many NYers are involved in the fight against fracking?

Engineers are good at making reasonable estimates based on incomplete information. I enjoy doing these kinds of numerical analyses. We call them "guesstimates". The goal is to get "close", which to a scientist usually means "within an order of magnitude of truth".
Estimating the number of NYers who are involved in the fight against fracking:

The two things we can look at where we have a good dataset are 1) local town bans, and 2) the number of public comments made on regulatory documents.

I've already blogged about these here:

We can't really infer much from the 200,000+ comments made on the Proposed NY regs, because it is likely that people made more than one comment.

If we pick a somewhat large number of comments-per-person (to be conservative) and say each person made 10 comments each (I made about five on the regs, if I recall correctly), then this means there were 20,000 unique people who made a comment.

First guesstimate: 20,000 people have filed a comment on the SGEIS or the Regs.

Next is the local town bans. According to Fractracker, the current totals are currently 75 municipalities* with bans, and 102 moratoria. (* cities and towns)

Source: Fractracker
So lets work with these numbers.

NY Cities62
NY Towns932
Total Municipalities:994
NY Population~19,500,000
Adjusted NY Pop
(discard NYC)
Avg Pop per Muni~19,600
Adjusted avg Pop per Muni11,360
Total Munis with protective
Population in protected munis (inc. NYC pop)~3,500,000
Adj. Population in protected munis~2,000,000

To get a ban or a moratorium in place, it requires active involvement of the citizens.

There are 4.3M registered voters in NY, so this means about 22% or 1:5 NYers vote.
This includes children, so that seem about right.

So lets assume that only 1/2 of the people who are registered to vote actually take part in elections, or would sign a petition. So we are saying only half of 22% or 11% of the population signed a petition.

This would be the minimum majority of registered voters (50% +1) needed to pass a YES/NO resolution.

So 11% of the 2,000,000 people who live in towns with a protective ordinance would be about 221,000 people. Let's call it 200,000.

There is our second estimate: 200,000 people have signed a petition for a protective ordinance.

NOTE: the numbers are likely much higher, due to the many towns in the Southern Tier who had active citizen efforts for a town ban, but which were refused for a vote by the town board. There are dozens of such towns.

So what defines "citizen engagement"?
Some ideas:
  • Attending a rally
  • Signing a petition for a ban
  • Filing comments on a regulatory proceeding
 So according to a very rough "guesstimate" we have a rough range of citizen involvement:

  20,000 people have filed a comment or attended a hearing
200,000 people have signed a petition for a ban

This seems about right, that about 1:10 petition signers are motivated enough to make a comment, so these numbers, calculated two different ways, both seem reasonable and pass initial "sanity checks".

How many people are actually opposed to Fracking in NY? Even if we take the Siena poll numbers, which are highly suspect, as we have pointed out (e.g., they do not show any indication in growth over 4 years, when other indicators show exponential growth), NYers are 44% against fracking. with 19.5M people living in NY, this would make 8.4 million NYers who oppose fracking.

    20,000 people have filed a comment or attended a hearing
  200,000 people have signed a petition for a ban
8,400,000 people in NY oppose fracking

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Crimes of Phelim McAleer + Questions and Links

Here are the crimes Phelim McAleer is accused of committing in NE Pennsylvania, Susquehanna County in making of FrackNation:
  • Unlawful restraint: 18 Pa.C.S. §2902(b)(1)
    (Julie Sautner in her driveway, demanded a water sample, threatened trespass if she left)
  • Stalking: 18 Pa.C.S. § 2709.1(c)(1)
    (several counts)
  • Harassment: 18 Pa.C.S. § 2709(a)
    (several counts)
  • Deceptive or Fraudulent Business Practices: 18 Pa.C.S. § 4107 
    ("I'm making a movie to save Ireland from fracking")
  • Breach of Privacy: 18 Pa.C.S. § 7507
  • § 3304. Criminal mischief. 
  • § 3503. Criminal trespass.
  • Disorderly Conduct: 18 Pa.C.S. § 5503
  • False Impersonation: 18 Pa.C.S. § 4115
  • Interception, Disclosure or Use of Wire, Electronic or Oral Communications 18 Pa.C.S. §5703 
Here is video of Mr. McAleer committing Trespass, and harassing and stalking Susan Sarandon, Sean Lennon, and the 79 year old Yoko Ono:

Questions For Phelim McAleer About Frack Nation
By Craig Stevens:
  • You are from Ireland, Have you tried to convince your own country to allow fracking ?
  • What evidence do you have that fracking does not cause methane contamination in water  
  • Was your video removed due to you using parts of Gasland without the owners approval? 
  • Did you get signed permission from the Sautner’s to use their image in you’re your film.
  • How much money did your wife Ann raise after speaking at CPAC last year for your film
  • Did the gas industry promote your fundraising attempt on kickstarter to get to your goal ?
  • Can you produce any evidence that proves that there is no contamination in Dimock, Pa.
  • Did you know Loren Salsman and six others took nearly two million dollars from Cabot
  • Were you aware that Loren was given $210,240 and a filtration system for his own water
  • Did you interview the Sautner’s and other’s for hours and why did you not use the film ?
  • Can you tell us why the DEP nine square mile moratorium is still in place in Dimock ?
  • Were you aware that Pennsylvania gave a 12 million dollar loan to build a waterline ?
  • You claim every well is active in Dimock why did DEP order three to be cemented shut
  • Do you have proof that the Sautner’s well was not contaminated by the gas drilling ?
  • Did you know that the three bad wells were vertical only and did not involve fracking ?
  • If there was no problem why did Cabot put 4.1 million in escrow for the 19 families ?
  • Did you interview Debbie Maye from Gasland and ask why Cabot gave her $366,752 ?
  • Did the residents you interviewed show you the pre drill tests showing no problems ?
  • Have you seen the DEP consent order from 12/15/10 signed by Cabot CEO Dan Dinges ?
  • Do You consider Gas a gift from god, why did god hide it thousands of feet in the earth ?
  • If shale gas is the miracle of the 21st century why are there so many problems with it ? 
  • Do You have any real evidence that Russia is behind the US anti fossil fuel movement 
  • Can You guarantee that gas will be less expensive in Poland if the government supplies it
  • Did LA county win a lawsuit against PXP about oil & gas drilling safety in Baldwin Hills
  • You live in SoCal and your film shows the air quality, are you saying it’s safe and clean ?
  • Are You saying that the compressor stations in Dish TX running 24 hours a day are safe ?
  • Why did You talk to Bruce Ames about Broccoli & Cabbage and not fracking chemicals?
  • Did you know that the earthquakes are being linked to injection wells and not fracking ?
  • Are you as concerned for the safety of US gas workers as you are the workers in China ?
  • Did the Dimock families tell you that the contamination was from 3 vertical wells only ?
  • Did the EPA come to Dimock because of concern over 2 years of water testing data ?
  • Why did the EPA not give the families original lab test data required by law in court ?
  • How did 1500 people sign a petition when the entire population of Dimock is only 1500 ?
  • Isn’t the ATSDR still reviewing data from Dimock over water contamination concerns ?
  • Why did You not include the footage of Julie Sautner when Ray Kemble came to help her
  • Were the Sautner’s in a federal lawsuit and not able to provide anybody any documents ?
  • Have You watched the EPA film where the agents refuse to drink the Sautner’s water ?
  • Why did the state of Pa. issue 4 consent orders against Cabot if there were no problems ?
  • Did Cabot provide water buffaloes and vent pipes and delivered water for over two years  
  • Did Cabot pay $100 per day for 11 homes or $33,000 per month for water deliveries ?
  • Why has Pa. not lifted the 9 square mile drilling ban if the problems have been resolved ?
  • Were you aware of new contamination from fracking only in November 2012 in Dimock
  • If drilling caused damage to your private property would you expect concern about it ?
  • Are you saying we all love energy so much we are willing to risk our lives to produce it ?
  • Was the human race able to survive before the last few 100 years without this technology
  • You do realize that James Cameron’s Avatar is about destroying a planet from extraction
  • Why do you not say drilling process regarding contamination, earthquakes and illness ?
  • Is your movie trying to tell the world that you found nothing negative about gas drilling ?
  • Maybe you should spend 5 minutes on the internet to find the problems with gas drilling
  • Did You do an interview to the Post Gazette in which you told Erich Schwartzel “ We’re definitely covering the contamination ”, in the film “ We feature both sides “
  • “ Look at environmentalism, It’s outsiders coming in and treating people like children"

A Few Questions for Phelim McAleer

April 11, 2013
Originally Published on Protecting Our Waters
Phelim McAleer, the new darling of the Marcellus Shale Coalition and of the shale gas industry more generally, is the perfect master of spin. Specializing in personal invective delivered with such a charming Irish accent that some audiences are apparently taken in rather than being repelled by his viciousness, McAleer is on tour with his film, “Frack Nation.”  Susan Phillips of StateImpact (WHYY/NPR) reviews Frack Nation here: “Dueling Fracking Films Battle for Pennsylvanians’ Hearts and Minds.”

In “Frack Nation,” McAleer works hard to make it appear “as if” it is just one person, Josh Fox, and not all the scientists, engineers, physicians, researchers and impacted people — residents and workers alike — who is galvanizing a large, increasingly well-developed and well-organized movement. His film makes it appear “as if” Dimock is the only place impacted by fracking, and provides a shameless rewriting of the history of impacts in Dimock.  In reality, there are hundreds of places badly impacted by fracking and many films of many lengths, not just GASLAND, documenting those impacts. So the “dueling films” is not a duet but a chorus.  “Triple Divide” is another important, well-made film now available on vimeo. “Gas Rush Stories” is a series of short documentaries by Kirsi Jansa (several posted on this blog).  “Fracking Hell: The Untold Story” is a short, professionally produced 18-minute overview; more raw, powerful new interviews are available on the emerging “Fracking Our Future” series.

You wouldn’t learn any of this, or much of anything, from attending “Frack Nation” screenings anywhere, but we recommend you do go. And we recommend you go prepared to ask McAleer a few questions (though he will only let you ask, at most, one; he is an absolute control freak with that microphone, confident of his right to dominate any who disagree).

Q and A? or Performance Art?

During “Q and A” sessions with McAleer, questions of substance are generally not tolerated, nor (if someone manages to ask one) answered. Instead, McAleer changes the subject multiple times in the course of avoiding answering a question such as, “Mr. McAleer, Ireland has a moratorium on fracking, yet here you are promoting shale gas in the U.S.  Can you explain why Ireland has a moratorium on fracking?”

While speaking at a Q and A session in Montrose, PA earlier this week, McAleer pretended the Ireland moratorium question had not been asked at all, preferring to make fun over and over of a Dimock resident whose water was contaminated by Cabot Oil and Gas drilling… because the Dimock resident wore a baseball cap.

That’s right. A baseball cap, apparently, disqualifies a person from speaking about their own contaminated water, in the twisted world of Phelim McAleer.

Sound stupid? It is. Phelim also talks (and talks and talks) about how interested he is in accuracy, truth, and science. But when a scientific study is actually mentioned by a knowledgeable person in the audience — such as the SUNY Buffalo study that shows that fracking mobilizes uranium which naturally occurs in the shale — then he will not only change the subject at lightning speed, but actually cut off the questioner.  In Bryn Mawr, he talked over a questioner, trying to make it look like the questioner was misbehaving for attempting to ask, “Phelim, the actual Marcellus cement casing failure rate in Pennsylvania for 2012 is 8.9% (up from 6.2% in 2010); why don’t you include any real facts or data such as that in your film, which is supposed to be all about accuracy?”

Coincidental Choreography: The Same Question Every Night

Phelim also manages his “performance art” — which is what his Q and A sessions really are — in such a way that coincidentally, towards the close of his performance, a person from the audience asks an identical question each night: “Phelim, what do you think the motivations of people like Craig Sautner and Josh Fox are?”  This piece of touching choreography enables Phelim to pontificate in an ugly way and call Craig Sautner a greed-driven liar over and over again, knowing full well that Craig is legally bound not to answer back because the Sautners  signed a non-disclosure clause with Cabot Oil and Gas as part of the legal settlement over the water contamination that turned his and his family’s lives upside down for years.  Non-disclosure clauses are part of the corporate legal infrastructure that enable the Phelims of the shale gas industry, with its army of PR hacks, to spout lies and libel without consequence.

Asked the same coincidental question each night, Phelim moves on from the Sautners back to Fox again. He rants and raves about Josh Fox being a “true believer,” which somehow turns into painting Josh Fox as “un-American,” which shortly thereafter becomes “anti-American.”  Phelim has collapsed in his own mind that most democratic of all roles, the whistle-blower, into its opposite.  Apparently, in Phelim’s mind, it is “un-American” and possibly criminal to expose damage and to  stand up for clean water, clean air, and a sustainable future.  And it is all-American to blame victims, such as Craig and Julie Sautner, whose water first went bad on September 11th, 2008.

While I’d heard people saying that Phelim is a “charlatan,” and that his reputation in Ireland is not that of a journalist but rather that of a “limelight-seeking joke” to those who knew him there, it took first-hand experience to understand just how dangerous this spinmaster actually is. When you go to see Frack Nation, go prepared.

Eight Questions for Phelim McAleer

Scott Cannon, of Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition, has written eight questions for people attending Q and A sessions or any kind of talks with Phelim McAleer to ask. We recommend not asking a question he can answer with a yes or no, because that gives him a quick out. Ask him to explain. For example, what is it that he thinks he is debunking regarding earthquakes? Activists have been explaining to the general public for years that re-injection wells cause earthquakes (in Arkansas, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia) — and geologists clearly agree — which is a major issue. In addition, fracking itself has been documented to produce small man-made seismic events which Oklahoma geologists have measured, Pennsylvania residents have felt, and which are significant enough for the UK to call off fracking after measuring seismic events underground during shale gas exploratory drilling. What exactly is it that he thinks he is debunking, then?
Here are Scott Cannon’s eight questions for Phelim McAleer:

  1. Phelim, you have said that the water in Dimock has always been fine, but that statement is false. Could you please explain why PA DEP issued a Consent Order against Cabot Oil and Gas for Cabot’s contamination of 18 water wells, affecting 19 families, in Dimock? Here is the link to the final Consent Order on the PA DEP website.

    You also say the water in Dimock is fine right now, but that statement is also false. There are problems that still aren’t resolved in 2013; read “Dimock Water Problems Continue,” by Tom Wilber.

    Perhaps, Phelim, you could also explain why former PA DEP Secretary John Hanger repeatedly affirmed that the methane contamination had been proven by DEP’s scientific isotopic testing to be caused by Cabot’s drilling? When Cabot continued to deny responsibility for the methane migration, Hanger issued a press release on September 29th, 2010 and told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the DEP had amassed “overwhelming” evidence that Cabot’s gas drilling caused the contamination. “It’s as though Cabot lives on a planet or a universe in which it gets to choose its facts…” Hanger said.

    Phelim, since you claim to value accuracy, truth, and science, what is your comment about PA DEP’s scientific evidence that gas drilling by Cabot Oil and Gas caused the contamination in Dimock? If you choose not to address that evidence, does that prove that you, like Cabot Oil and Gas, live on a planet where the facts don’t matter?
  2. Phelim, you’ve said that “Fracking’s been done safely since 1947, if there were problems, we’d know about it.” (Fox Money TV Show).  But the PA DEP’s Abandoned Wells and Orphaned Wells Program states that there are approximately 180,000 orphaned unplugged wells. Of the 8,000 that the PA DEP know about, 550 are considered problem wells. Approximately 129 are prioritized as extremely dangerous and leaking and polluting water and soil. That’s just in Pennsylvania alone.
  3. Phelim, you say there hasn’t been one case of fracking causing groundwater contamination, but you don’t say what does cause most of the groundwater pollution problems, which are spills and methane migration from the drilling process. Could you explain why you omit the truth about shale gas development and its impacts on water?

    Among the many reported cases of fracking causing groundwater contamination is this confirmed case of fracking causing ground water contamination in Edmonton, Canada by Caltex Energy Inc., Hydraulic Fracturing Incident,16-27-068-10W6M, on September 22, 2011.

    A study of fracking causing groundwater contamination is ongoing in Pavilion Wyoming, where researchers have confirmed that fracking is the only explanation for the presence of fracking contaminants, such as benzene and 2-butoxyethanol, at high levels in the groundwater there.
  4. Phelim, several Dimock residents have come forward claiming that you told them you were making a film to save Ireland from fracking, in order to obtain interviews with them. Is this true?
  5. Phelim, you claim, early in your movie, that Josh Fox had one of your videos removed from YouTube and Vimeo and allege that was because he had something to hide. You failed to mention that you committed copyright infringement by uploading scenes of the HBO owned “Gasland” in your clips. YouTube copyright policy states that YouTube cannot determine what is considered “Fair Use.” It would have to be settled in a court of law. Did you have this settled in a court of law?
  6. Phelim, you say that some water has had enough methane in it to be able to be lit on fire for centuries, (Fox Money TV Show), which is true. But you don’t say the methane migration from the drilling process is confirmed to produce concentrated methane in people’s water wells – at levels which make the water flammable and which create an explosion risk for those people’s homes — where there was no flammable amounts of methane before. Can you explain why you don’t mention this? You seem to accuse Josh Fox of these omission tactics, yet you do them yourself.
  7. Phelim, you make the statement in your film that environmentalists say that “Fracking is completely unregulated.” That statement is false. We don’t say that. We say it is exempt from requirements in the underground injection control (UIC) program of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), which is true.

    We also point out that flaring, shale gas drilling flowback waste, drill cuttings; air emissions from well pads, separators, dehydrators and compressor stations, as well as greenhouse gas emissions, are vastly underregulated, which is true.

  8. Phelim, Loren Salsman, the resident of Dimock who shows you the Sautner home in your film, shows up in the film Truthland produced by Energy in Depth. He holds a crystal clear glass of water with the star of the film and says “Let’s drink some Dimock water” and they drink. The film doesn’t show the elaborate water filter system it went through provided by Cabot Oil and Gas because they were found guilty of contaminating his well by the DEP. Can you comment on that? Here is the video link.

Your Questions and Observations

Phelim has been at it for a while; for a tidbit from recent history, a pro-Tea Party blog called “ecosense” raves about Phelim’s masterful arguments against slowing down climate change here.
Please feel free to report your experiences with Phelim McAleer, and write your own questions, in our Comments section below this blog post. Thanks.

Steve Horn / DeSmogBlog

Part I: Link to original:

Mon, 2013-06-03 05:00 Steve Horn
Steve Horn's picture

Exposed: "FrackNation" Deploys Tobacco Playbook in Response to "Gasland 2"

Big Oil has deployed the “Tobacco Playbook” once again, this time in response to the release of “Gasland 2.”

It comes in the form of a documentary film titled, “FrackNation,” whose co-directors' funding in the past came from Donors Capital and Donors Trust, referred to by Mothers Jones' Andy Kroll as “the dark-money ATM of the right” and a major source of funding for climate change denial. 
Both “Gasland 2” and “FrackNation” cover hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), the toxic horizontal drilling process via which unconventional oil and gas is obtained from shale rock basins around the country and world. Co-produced and co-directed by Irish couple Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney, “FrackNation” purports to be “funded by the 99 percent to combat the misrepresentations by the 1 percent of urban elites who want to tell rural Americans how to work and live.”
McAleer and McElhinney also say they are independent journalists working independently of corporate funding. McAleer was referred to by the San Francisco Chronicle as “climate denial's Michael Moore” and both McAler and McElhinney are listed as “experts” by the climate change-denying Heartland Institute.
“FrackNation is an independent film and we want to remain independent of the Gas industry and be funded by ordinary people,” it says on its KickStarter page that it used to raise $212,265 from 3,305 backers of the film between February-April 2012.
This isn't the first dip in the “doubt is our product” pond for McAleer and McElhinney. In the past, they co-directed and co-produced a pro-mining documentary titled “Mine Your Own Business” and a climate change denial documentary titled, “Not Evil, Just Wrong.”
Both McAleer and McElhinney have made a living in recent years deploying the “Tobacco Playbook,” mutating settled scientific debates on energy and climate catastrophe into false two-sided affairs, which corporate-funded news media take and run with as “he-said, she-said” stories. 

Filmmaker's History of Tobacco Playbook Deployment

“FrackNation” made its public debut in Jan. 2013, coinciding with the release of “Promised Land,” a Hollywood drama starring Matt Damon.
“It's time Hollywood celebrities and environmentalists were asked some difficult questions about their anti-fracking activities and ideologies. And that's what FrackNation does,” McAleer said in a press release announcing the world premiere.
McAleer and McElhinney are now singing a similar tune about “Gasland 2,” as it approaches its July 8 HBO release date.
“Mine Your Own Business”
Countering popular environmental struggles and luminaries is the modus operandi for McAleer and McElhinney, with a track record of doing so dating back to the mid-2000's. Their first public foray into the world of “marketing doubt” came with the release of their “Mine Your Own Business: The Dark Side of Environmentalism.”  
Released in 2006, the film was produced in response to the anti-mining protests that popped up against Gabriel Resources proposed open-pit gold mines in Romania, slated to be the largest in Europe. McAleer said it was “the world's first anti-environmentalist documentary.”
One key funder: Gabriel Resources. This moved local Romanian citizen Eugen David to write that the film was pure propaganda. 
“Because the gold lies squarely under and around the village of Rosia Montana, Gabriel needs to move out the local population – roughly 2000 people all in all. But it's not only the people that will need to go,” David wrote in Jan. 2007. “Gone also would be our mountains, pastures, rivers and our churches, cemeteries and school – our community with its social fabric and traditions.”
The purpose of the film was obvious: complicate the narrative on the proposed mine through ad hominem attacks on environmentalists, rather than addressing environmental issues associated with the mine itself. David and fellow citizens living in the proposed mining area didn't buy the bluff. 
“After a first unannounced test screening in Bucharest, Gabriel Resources had to stop the film after 15 minutes because people were so revolted by what they saw,” he further explained
“Mine Your Own Business,” however, did have a loyal fan base: the right-wing echo chamber.
Steve Milloy, a tobacco industry front man-turned-fossil fuel industry front man, wrote two favorable reviews for Fox News. The Salt Institute and Atlas Society (named after Ayn Rand's “Atlas Shrugged”) echoed Milloy's efforts. 
“Not Evil, Just Wrong”
In response to the proposed 2009 federal climate legislation and in the run-up to the 2009 Copenhagen United Nations international climate summit, McAleer and McElhinney released the film, “Not Evil, Just Wrong.” Akin to “FrackNation” with “Gasland 2” director Josh Fox, the film spends much time attacking former Vice President Al Gore in ad hominem fashion, with the film serving as a response Gore's “An Inconvenient Truth.” 
“It has no commercial distributor, but instead debuted on an October 18 webcast heavily promoted by social conservative organizations like Focus on the Family and the American Family Association, as well as local Tea Party groups,” a Mother Jones article explained.
Paralleling “Mine Your Own Business,” the film was met with great fanfare within the right-wing echo chamber despite lack of commercial distribution.
“They’ve held pre-screenings for bloggers and brought the film to every major conservative conference of 2009, including the Values Voter Summit and Americans for Prosperity’s Defending the American Dream Summit,” one news media report explained. “At the Conservative Political Action Conference [CPAC], McAleer and McElhinney spoke right before Rush Limbaugh.”
Other Big Tobacco apologists-turned-Big Oil apologists also helped promote the film: Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform and the Heritage Foundation, the Cornwall AllianceThe Washington ExaminerCollegians for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), the Fraser, and Right Online.     
McAler and McElhinney have brought the Tobacco Playbook to the big screen. The question remains: who's funding them?

Donors Trust, Donors Capital Funding McAleer, McElhinney

“Mine Your Own Business”
“Mine Your Own Business” was funded by Gabriel Resources, but Gabriel wasn't the only fundee. The other patron: Donors Trust/Donors Capital.
In the past, McElhinney and McAleer were formerly Fellows at the Moving Pictures Institute (MPI), founded by Thor Halvorssen. MPI, in turn, produced “Mine Your Own Business” and is a member of the State Policy Network (SPN), a right-wing echo chamber network for state policy that publishes PR “studies” to promote the corporate agenda.
Halvorssen also runs the Human Rights Foundation (HRF), which has taken $764,950 from Donors Trust and Donors Capital since 2005, according to a recent investigative story by Max Blumenthal. Blumenthal also explains MPI took more than $300,000 from Donors between 2005 and 2011. 
“Not Evil, Just Wrong”
“Not Evil, Just Wrong” also received funding from DonorsDeSmogBlog contributor and Guardian (UK) climate changer writer Graham Readfearn explained in a Feb. 2012 article that Donors funnelled $24,753 toward the film
This lends an explanation as to why “Not Evil, Just Wrong” was promoted by well-heeled climate change deniers in the mid-2010 Balanced Education for Everyone (BEE) campaign, calling for a “balanced” scientific teaching of the climate change “controversy.” The BEE campaign parallels ones pushed for via an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) model bill, by the Discovery Institute, and by the Heartland Institute.
“Global warming alarmists want Americans to believe that humans are killing the planet,” BEE's former website explained in promoting the film. “But Not Evil Just Wrong, a documentary by Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney, proves that the real threats to America (and the rest of the world) are the flawed science and sky-is-falling rhetoric of Al Gore and his allies in environmental extremism.”
BEE's campaign was run by the Independent Women's Forum (IWF), which in Oct. 2003 signed a partnership with Americans for Prosperity (AFP), an astroturf front group founded and funded by the Koch Brothers, key funders of the climate change denial machine. The two entitites at the time announced they would share leadership, senior staff and office space, a formal relationship they say ended in 2005.
IWF - before it disbanded - was formerly headed by current AFP Board Member Nancy Mitchell Pfotenhauer from 2000-2005, who also sat on IWF's Board of Directors from 2005-2007. From 1998-2000, Pfotenhauer served as a lobbyist for Koch Industries, also serving as Senior Policy Advisor and spokesperson for the 2008 John McCain presidential campaign.
Pfotenhauer was also the former Executive Vice President of Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE), established by Charles Koch and affiliate Richard Fink and propelled by $13 million in grants from Koch Family Foundations. After CSE split into FreedomWorks and AFP, she served as AFP's President and CEO. She now sits on the Board of Visitors of George Mason University and on the Board of Directors of the CATO Institute, two other key entitites that make up the Koch echo chamber
“Not Evil, Just Wrong” shared the same PR firm with BEEGo Ahead PR, a sure sign that the film's release and the campaign were part of a well-coordinated campaign.
And though McAleer and McElhinney say “FrackNation” was bankrolled via a grassroots KickStarter fundraising drive, a deeper dig into its books - as will be seen in part two of this investigation - calls that all into question.

Part II: Link to Original:

Tue, 2013-06-04 05:00 Steve Horn
Steve Horn's picture

"FrackNation" Part Two: The Koch Industries Ties That Bind

Part one of the DeSmogBlog investigation of “FrackNation” - a film made in response to “Gasland 2” - honed in on the past track records and funding streams of co-directors Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney.

We revealed that Donors Trust/Donors Capital - the “dark money ATM of the right” - partially funded their first two films, “Mine Your Own Business” and “Not Evil, Just Wrong.”

We also revealed that “Not Evil,” a climate change denial documentary, was utilized by a partner of Americans for Prosperity (AFP) to push the Balanced Education for Everyone (BEE) campaign. 

That campaign calls for a “balanced” scientific teaching of the climate change “controversy” and parallels ones pushed for via an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) model bill, by the Discovery Institute, and by the Heartland Institute.

Yet, what about “FrackNation”? Who bankrolled it and are the screenings and is the tour really a grassroots endeavor? 

It might seem that way based on its marketing, but as Jean de La Fontaine once said, “Beware, so long as you live, of judging men by their outward appearance.”

Grassroots or Astroturf? Follow the Email List

Interested in where “FrackNation” and its film-making team are getting their funding from, I signed up for its email list. In so doing, I learned that Market Aces LLC runs it.

“From the start, Market Aces had a vision to offer low-cost website development solutions to small businesses and a niche market within the political and non-profit sector – but only those who are dedicated to protecting the American Dream and freedom,” its website reads. 

Market Aces LLC shares an office with The Leadership Institute (LI).

According to LI's website, it “teaches conservative Americans how to influence policy through direct participation, activism, and leadership.” Its website also explains that “since 1979, [it] has trained more than 119,000 conservative activists, leaders, and students.”

Playing by API's Employee Advocacy Playbook?
Beyond getting email list building help from one of the key “feeder” nodes in the right-wing network, it's also questionable how many of the funders of “FrackNation” were of the grassroots variety. As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette explained,
[T]he roster of “executive producers” who have donated at least $1 includes scores of energy industry associates. The filmmakers said Thursday they plan to return any donations given by “senior” workers in the industry, which they define as executives.
Among those who donated money to the KickStarter campaign: “the director of an Ohio-based oil and gas outreach program and the head of external affairs at Cabot Oil and Gas, the company that's fought accusations of water contamination in Dimock, Pa., for the past several years,” according to the Post-Gazette

Within four weeks of the Kickstarter fundraising campaign's launch, “FrackNation” had already raised over $150,000, raising over $22,000 in the first two days of fundraising.
Perhaps “FrackNation” is playing by the American Petroleum Institute's employee advocates' “corporate citizen” playbook.

In a presentation given at an industry PR conference attended by DeSmogBlog in Houston, TX titled, “Educating Employees On Key Issues To Encourage Brand Management Energy Nation: Empowering Employee Advocates,” API's Director of External Mobilization Tara Anderson explained how - in essence - to create an armada of fracking advocates from within the employee base of oil and gas corporations.

“Employees are the best brand ambassador you can come by…The most important principle to remember is to create a culture of advocacy,” she said in Houston. “This is really a community that regularly communicates and engages in the political process. It gives them all the necessary tools and empowers them to get involved and make a difference.”

This may explain why the film not only raised money with such rapidity, but also has full industry backing for its nationwide tour

“FrackNation” Tour's Americans for Prosperity Pitstops  

For an alleged grassroots-funded film, “FrackNation” has enjoyed robust support from Big Oil and other corporate interests in the first several months of its roadshow. Both Energy in Depth and the Marcellus Shale Coalition - for example - are also promoting the film.

“The film is a case of the good guys hitting a home run that changes the entire game,” exclaimed Energy in Depth in a Jan. 2013 review of the film.

Former Big Tobacco lackey Grover Norquist - now head of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR)  - also wrote a favorable review of the film to coincide with the film's premiere on the Mark Cuban-owned AXS TV in Jan. 2013 and ATR's hosting of the filmmaker's for lunch.
Ezra Lavant of “Ethical Oil” infamy has also aided in promoting the film. “FrackNation” co-director Magdalena Segieda will speak on Levant's “Freedom Cruise” in August and he also had McElhinney and McAleer on his show in February

In Feb. 2013, Joint Landowner’s Coalition of NY Inc. (JLCNYhosted two “FrackNation” screenings in upstate New York, both of which McAleer attended. Just three months later in May, JLCNY announced its new partnership with AFP.

Later, in March, AFP-Michigan played host to a “FrackNation” screening, a fracking battleground state where the toxic process has yet to commence. In April and MayAFP–Illinois hosted a total of eight screenings of “FrackNation,” another state with an ongoing fracking battleAFP-MT and the Montana Petroleum Association - a state-level APIalso screened the film.
Most recently to coincide with the launch of the grassroots launch of “Gasland 2,” McAleer has taken “FrackNation” on-tour to bird-dog it.

On May 22, AFP-Colorado hosted a “FrackNation” screening at the same time University of Colorado hosted a showing of “Gasland 2,” and the next “showdown of the century” - as the “FrackNation” promoters put it - will take place on May 31 in Santa Barbara, CAYoung America's Foundation will play host to the “FrackNation” Santa Barbara screening
AFP-Maryland also hosted a screening of “FrackNation” on June 2. 

“FrackNation” Screens at House Committee, Josh Fox Arrested in Hearing of Same Committee

“FrackNation” also screened at CPAC in March 2013 and in front of the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology in Feb. 2013.   

It’s important that politicians educate themselves about fracking. It’s the future of American energy,” McAleer wrote in an email promoting the Capitol Hill screening. “With all the lies and misinformation out there, we’re excited to bring the truth about fracking to Capitol Hill.”
Dave Weigel of Slate reported that “around 40 Republican staffers and members of Congress made time for a private movie screening.”

Among those in the room, according to Weigel, was Committee Chair U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), a climate change denier who took $10,000 from Koch Industries and $83,750 from Big Oil for his 2012 electoral campaign.  

He was glad to have these points made in an easily digestible way, on screen,” McAleer told Weigel of Smith's reaction to seeing the film. “People know there's something smelly about Gasland, but people are suspicious about how it smells.”

As a direct juxtaposition, “Gasland 2” director Josh Fox was arrested at this same Committee's hearing in Feb. 2012 while filming for his then-upcoming film for “unlawful entry.” Though he had a pass to do the filming during the hearing, he was was slapped with this charge anyway.
“This is a public hearing. I’m within my First Amendment rights, and I’m being taken out,” Fox calmly stated to those in the hearing room while being escorted out during his arrest.

Independent Journalists? Oh, Really?

Then there's the big question: how do two so-called independent journalists afford to pay for a $1 million condo off the Pacific Ocean in Marina Del Rey, CA?

This condo was purchased by them in May 2010, according to property records matching the listed address for Hard Boiled Films LLC, the listed producer of “FrackNation.”

And though it's obvious from the filmmaker's track-records that they have ties to powerful right-wing upper-level circles, sources told DeSmogBlog that McAleer interviewed them under deceptive pretenses. 

McAleer's Interview Requests Under Misleading Pretenses

One of the featured interviewees in the film is Dimock, PA's Craig Sautner alongside his wife, Julie. The Sautners were interviewed for the first “Gasland” and had their water contaminated by Cabot Oil and Gas in 2008.

“Trees were cleared and the ground leveled to make room for a four-acre drilling site less than 1,000 feet away from their land,” an account in Vanity Fair explained. “The Sautners could feel the earth beneath their home shake whenever the well was fracked. Within a month, their water had turned brown. It was so corrosive that it scarred dishes in their dishwasher and stained their laundry.”
In an interview with DeSmogBlog, Sautner said McAleer approached him under misleading pretenses, claiming to be an anti-fracking filmmaker hoping to help out in Ireland's fracking fight.
“I was hesitant at first to do the interview, but he begged us and we said 'okay.' Everything he ended up using in the video he took out of context. He had it all set up from the beggining of what he wanted to show and he wasn't going to show the truth,” Sautner told DeSmogBlog.

Victoria Switzer, another Dimock victim of Cabot interviewed for “FrackNation” who spent four hours speaking with McAleer in her house (her interview did not appear in the film), also expressed similar sentiments to DeSmogBlog.  
He called he assured me he was doing an unbiased documentary both sides of the issues. I think it is significant because it goes to his lying, his manipulation of the truth, and misrepresentation of his agenda. I never would have let him in my home if I knew what his agenda was. Later when I saw some of his other work I was sickened that this man sat at the table my husband built in the home that is now threatened by the industry he serves
McAleer mislead interviewees during the filming of “Mine Your Own Business,” too. Stephanie Roth - a 2005 recipient of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize and a grassroots activist who has helped in the anti-mining fight in Romania - was also approached by McAleer for an interview for that film.
The catch: he did so - according to one account - under a psudonym and Roth refused to speak to him because McAleer was uninterested in interviewing any of the local grassroots activists she suggested should be interviewed besides her.

Big Tobacco Player, Climate Changer Deniers Makes Film Apperances

“FrackNation” itself features numerous fossil fuel industry shills-for-hire, climate change deniers, as well as one former Big Tobacco apologist, all posing as “independent experts.” The roster of hired guns is robust:

-Bruce Ames - Ames sits on the Advisory Board of Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), a climate change denial, fossil fuel industry-funded group on college campuses nationwide. He also formerly sat on the Advisory Board for The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC), created by Philip Morris, as explained in the book “Trust Us We're Experts” by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber.

In the film, Ames compares the chemical compounds found in fracking fluid to those found in cabbage.

“If I gave you all of the long names of the chemicals in cabbage that give cancer to rats in high levels, you could get scared, but there's really no danger in cabbage,” he stated in the film. “If people say fracking's causing cancer, then they don't know what they're talking about.”

-Robert Bryce - Bryce's analysis was also featured early-on in the film, though his fellowship at the Manhattan Institute Center for Energy Policy and the Environment - heavily funded by the oil and gas industry - goes unmentioned. Bryce was also interviewed extensively in the industry propaganda film, “Haynseville.” 

-James Delingpole - Delingpole is an infamous climate change denier and columnist for the UK Telegraph. In the film, Delingpole hints that the U.S. anti-fracking movement might be funded by Russia for geopolitical purposes.

“In fact, I would say Russia is screwed if it can't export its gas,” Delingpole said in the film. “So, it really is very important for Russia that the shale gas revolution does not happen. It is also in Russia's interest to fund those environmental groups which are committed to campaigning against fracking. That's how it works.”

-Terry Engelder - Engelder is viewed by many as a shale gas industry spokesman. He is the co-founder of Appalachian Fracture Systems, a natural gas consulting firm and was interviewed in “Truthland,” a documentary made in response to “Gasland” by Energy In Depth

-Jon Entine - Entine is a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, which The Guardian revealed takes millions to deny climate change from, among others, ExxonMobil. He also has a fellowship at George Mason University, heavily funded by the Koch Brothers. Mother Jones referred to Entine as an “agribusiness apologist” in a Feb. 2012 piece pointing to some his unsavory advocacy on behalf of multnational agribusiness corporation, Syngenta.  

-Bryan Shaw - Shaw serves as head of the Texas Center for Environmental Quality (TCEQ). He's also a notorious climate changer denier whose fellow climate change denying boss - TX Republican Gov. Rick Perry - took $5,204,795 from Big Oil before his 2010 electoral victory. Perry has already raised $671,069 in advance of his forthcoming 2014 electoral efforts. 

“Merchants of Doubt” At It Again

McAleer can best be described as a favorite corporate third-party advocate, a hired gun to sow seeds of doubt on the ecological impacts of fracking.

“[Third party advocacy] offers camouflage, helping to hide the vested interest that lurks behind a message,” wrote Rampton and Stauber in “Trust Us We're Experts.” “Putting the same message in someone else's mouth gives it a credibility that it would not otherwise enjoy.”
Thus, while many critics write McAleer off as a convoluted goof ball, there's more to the story than originally meets the eye: it's the story of the Tobacco Playbook's redux and the stakes of the climate crisis couldn't be higher.

In Dec. 1953, PR hegemon Hill and Knowlton formed the Tobacco Industry Committee for Public Information, also forming the Tobacco Institute in 1963. The U.S. Dept. of Justice would later say that “deceive[d] the American public about the health impacts of smoking.”
60 years later, more of the same. Hill and Knowlton now represents America's Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA), the unconventional oil and gas industry's lobbying tour de force.

With influential news outlets ranging from The New York TimesVarietyNew York PostNational Review, and the Associated Press all covering the film favorably, whoever is bank-rolling “FrackNation” understands how the dark arts of PR are utilized. That is, when “both sides” of a one-sided scientific debate are covered in a news story, the “merchants of doubt” always wins. 

Dory Hippauf -- Link to original: 

FrackNation Misspelled

by Dory Hippauf on January 11, 2013
fracknation mispelled
The first thing that jumped out at me is the spelling and lack of howls from EID/IPAA minions over the inclusion of the letter “K”.  I had thought FrackNation may have been a working title, and once released it would be corrected to meet the Natural Gas Industry best spelling practices.
EID/IPAA and the like are often quick to point out it is spelled FRACING (no “k”).   Did they, at least, send a note to FrackNation (excuse me) FracNation producers: Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney  regarding the misspelling?
fracknation - kKowabunga! Why do I suddenly feel like a Sesame Street clip is going to pop up?  Or should it be Cowabunga?
Next there’s the problem of the word itself, no matter how it is spelled.
“Fracking”: Is it a dirty word? | AP/CBS | January 27, 2012

Excerpt:  A different kind of F-word is stirring a linguistic and political debate as controversial as what it defines. 

The word is “fracking” — as in hydraulic fracturing, a technique long used by the oil and gas industry to free oil and gas from rock. 

Excerpt: Industry executives argue that the word is deliberately misspelled by environmental activists and that it has become a slur that should not be used by media outlets that strive for objectivity. 
“It’s a co-opted word and a co-opted spelling used to make it look as offensive as people can try to make it look,” said Michael Kehs, vice president for Strategic Affairs at Chesapeake Energy, the nation’s second-largest natural gas producer.

Excerpt: The drilling industry has generally spelled the word without a “K,” using terms like “frac job” or “frac fluid.”

 Energy historian Daniel Yergin spells it “fraccing” in his book, “The Quest: Energy, Security and the Remaking of the Modern World.” The glossary maintained by the oilfield services company Schlumberger includes only “frac” and “hydraulic fracturing.

Somebody should clue in Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney about this.   The Natural Gas Industry preferred term is Hydraulic Fracturing.

For more on the letter “K” see: Who put the “k” in fracking? The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the fracking truth.| by TXsharon on November 28, 2011.

Now that we’ve established Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney need to brush up on Natural Gas Spelling and Word Usage standards – let’s take a look at the recently released “promo” for FrackNation.

(Apologies to Natural Gas Grammar Police, but that’s the word and how it was spelled by Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney.)

The YouTube promo is a TV Spot Advertising.  It showed on my own local TV station just yesterday.  The ad is called FrackNation “Meet The Sautners”.   It is a mish-mash of YouTube clips from other people’s work, and of course, the clips are taken out of context, and there’s a serious woman’s voice doing a narrative.

There is a brief scene of the Sautners walking down their driveway lined with jugs of contaminated water.  In the upper right hand corner, you will notice the logo for RT-TV.
fracknation rt logo
RT-TV has two stories which show the same clip.   A Fracking Joke and Fracking to Poison your Beer. Here’s one screen capture:
fracknation rt original

So FrackNation, grabbed a clip from RT-TV.  It’s unknown if FrackNation had permission to use it or not.  But if you wish to find out, contact RT-TV at: E-mail: , or use their Contact Page.

The next co-opted clip is of the Sautners learning the EPA determined the water was safe to drink.  The EPA visit that day was taped in its entirety.

See: EPA and Sautners Water Test Results  | Vera Scroggins | Taped 4-18-12. Sautners get the news from EPA today that their water poses no health hazard and okay to drink. Very upsetting for them. Three EPA reps there including Trish Taylor and Mr. Rupert.

Specifically regarding the clip used in the Fracknation ad about the EPA visit – what FrackNation left out was the part about the EPA being offered a glass of water and refusing.   Vera Scroggins extracted the 14 second segment from her full coverage (see EPA and Sautners Water Test Results).

See: EPA Says No to Drinking Sautner Water | Vera Scroggins| Taped 4-18-12. Fourteen second segment of the visit showing EPA saying, “I won’t drink your water”… Craig Sautner…
I haven’t seen FrackNation – just the ad, so I can’t comment on the “movie”.   I did write a bit about FrackNation attacking Promised Land.     As far as watching the “movie”, based on the ad’s mish-mash of co-opted YouTube clips, it makes me wonder how much original material is in it.    You would think clips of ORIGINAL material would have been used to make an ad, so does that mean there is no original material or so little of it that there’s not enough to use in an ad without giving away the plot?

The “movie” is scheduled to air on something called AXS-TV – never heard of it before today.  I did Google it, and found out it’s owned by Mark Cuban.  Per Forbes: Serial entrepreneur Mark Cuban has a hit on his hands with Shark Tank, the reality TV show, now in its fourth season, on which he judges offers from startups seeking investments. Cuban won the original dot-com lottery (along with fellow billionaire Todd Wagner) when he sold audio and video portal to Yahoo for $5.7 billion in 1999. Since then, Cuban bought the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, where you can find him courtside, screaming like any other fan. His other entertainment vehicles include cable channel AXS, Landmark Theatres and filmmaker Magnolia Pictures. In late 2011, Cuban flirted with the idea of buying the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, but pulled out of the bidding as the price increased.

Per Wikipedia: AXS TV (pronounced “access”) is an entertainment television channel in the United States. The network is owned by HDNet, Inc., a company founded by investor Mark Cuban in 2001. A share of the channel is in the process of being purchased by a group including Ryan Seacrest and entertainment companies Anschutz Entertainment Group and Creative Artists Agency, a move that saw the channel rebrand from HDNet to AXS TV on July 2, 2012.

AXS TV’s current schedule includes men’s interest programming, sporting and concert events, with a future emphasis on entertainment and pop culture programming
Oh. Ok. Testoster-tainment.

Why isn’t in a theater,  HBO, Showtime? Hell, even a show like Bayou Billionaires gets real air time on Country Music Television (CMT),  and with no cut/paste YouTube clipped promos.

This brings up another thing troubling me about the “movie”.  The funding was supposedly done through Kickstarter, raising financing with “grassroots” backers.   Why?  With EID/IPAA’s latest blog post I would think a “movie” like FrackNation should have had major studio’s trampling each other to get a piece and be on the list for an Oscar.  But nope, nothing.

Other than the aforementioned EID/IPAA blog post, there has been little public relations to push the “movie” from major Natural Gas interests.   Where’s the Exxon-Mobil logo?  Where’s Aubrey McClendon telling us not to miss this blockbuster?  Nada.  As far as I know, not even the Marcellus Shale Coalition is running a commercial before the “movie”.

Just a lame EID/IPAA blog post which fails to even correct the spelling of Hydraulic Fracturing.
The LA Times did review the “movie”:  Review: ‘FrackNation’ takes on an anti-fracking documentary | LA Times | By Mark Olsen | January 10, 2013

Excerpt:  Despite its relatively brief running time and specific aim, “FrackNation” is rather unfocused, hopping within moments from grilling a Delaware River Basin commissioner over “Gasland” to speaking to an elderly pensioner in Poland about her energy bill. Moments of McAleer and his team being kicked out of an event or not allowed on someone’s property are theatrical but irrelevant.

If you found the “movie” YouTube ad troubling, you can do something about it.  You will need a Google account.  So if you don’t have one, get one.   Next.  Sign into goggle and go to the “ad”
See the pic below:
fracknation flag
Click the Thumbs Down.   Watch the “ad”, and click the FLAG when your blood pressure hits a danger level.  A box with options will appear.  Pick what you think fits best.   And don’t forget to leave a comment too.

Also be sure to read Chip Northrup’s FrackedNation, he has some interesting ideas about possible sequels.  Hope you copyrighted those ideas, Chip!
©2013 by Dory Hippauf

Dory again, link to original:

REF says fracknation is FAILNATION in Showdown

by Dory Hippauf on June 20, 2013
Fracknation failNot everything is as advertised, and last night’s Energy-In Depth’s (EID) heavy promoted “SHOWDOWN OF THE CENTURY” proves it.   The showdown of the century wasn’t even a showdown of the minute.


GASLAND II: 950 people

Fracknation: 17 people

(not a typo, it was really just 17 people)
McAleer was a no show, too bad, then they would have had 18 people, or maybe make that 19 if you included his ego.

The scores were similarly lopsided in previous “showdowns” and there is little indication it will be any different in future “showdowns”.

 Nicole Jacobs of EID explained the low attendance to as “A lot of people already saw ‘FrackNation’ so they’re over at ‘Gasland’ tonight”.  

Ummmm…isn’t this like letting all your players go play for the other team, and leaving the towel boy to punt?  Or in the case of EID’s spokesperson, Jacobs, the towel girl.

The “REF’s” decision:

HUGE FAIL for fracknation.

 ©2013 by Dory Hippauf

Dory Hippauf, Let's Got to the Movies (excerpt)
Link to original:

Coming Soon to a rented hall near you will be FrackNation.   The movie production costs were partially funded through the use of KickStarter – an on-line site for raising project funds.
Industry gets cast in ‘FrackNation,’ the latest documentary on the drilling debate
November 30, 2011 – Pittsburgh Post Gazette, By Erich Schwartzel

Excerpt: “The film, however, is being partially funded through donations on the Kickstarter website, and the roster of “executive producers” who have donated at least $1 includes scores of energy industry associates. The filmmakers said Thursday they plan to return any donations given by “senior” workers in the industry, which they define as executives.”

Excerpt: “FrackNation was directed by Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney, a married couple living in Marina del Rey, California, whose previous subjects include Al Gore and anti-coal environmentalists. Their treatment of natural gas drilling will “look at both sides of the argument,” Mr. McAleer said.”

FrackNation describes itself as “FrackNation is a feature documentary that will tell the truth about fracking for natural gas. Watch the video to find out more.”

Let’s take a look at McAleer and McElhinney, shall we?

Together they own Ann and Phelim Media LLC, and are documentary film makers.  To their credit their films include:

Not Evil Just Wrong, a rebuttal to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth

Mine Your Own Business.  A review from The Guardian describes the film as:
Green goblins – A Michael Moore-style documentary depicts environmentalists as misguided meddlers

Media Guardian, by Rory Carrol, Wednesday 1 November 2006

“The feature-length documentary follows the Michael Moore template of championing the underdog, in this case impoverished communities in Romania, Madagascar and Chile, but instead of attacking the mines it goes for the ecologists.

Mine Your Own Business, whose British premiere is this week, casts the green movement as the influential villain of a worldwide campaign to block development and deny people the chance of jobs and a decent life.”

Of the couple, McElhinney seems to be popular one. She’s described as a Tea Party activist according to the College Conservative.

The Real Conspiracy: A Report from RightOnline

College Conservative
Jun 24 by Nicholas Kowalski

Excerpt (emphasis added): “The inaugural Andrew Breitbart Award for Excellence in Online Activism and Investigative Reporting was announced at the closing dinner. John Fleischman of Flash Report – a site dedicated to exposing corruption in corruption-plagued California – received the recognition. Documentarian Ann McElhinney, Tea Party activist and radio show host Dana Loesch, and pollster Scott Rasmussen paid tribute to his life’s work”

RightWing Watch, a project of People for the American Way, writes:

Ann McElhinney – Is This Woman ‘Fracking’ Crazy? – Ann McElhinney of Frack Nation at CPAC
Submitted by Josh Glasstetter on Wed, 02/15/2012 – 7:00pm

“Ann McElhinney is very upset about dumb, lying environmentalists and very excited about fracking, which is a miraculous gift from God. She’s making a film about it – Frack Nation – and she pitched the CPAC crowd last Saturday on her right-wing response to the critically acclaimed documentary Gasland.

The thesis of McElhinney’s manic, meandering speech is that fracking is the best thing to ever happen to us, but it could be squandered by ignorant and dumb people who have been tricked into opposing it by scheming, dishonest environmentalists who agree with Vladimir Putin and secretly hate the Bald Eagle.”

How much truth and how much of “both sides” will be looked at remains to be seen.
FrackNation is reportedly scheduled to be released around the same release time of Josh Fox’s Gasland-2.

Chip Northrup: 
Link to original:

FrackNation: Tedious leprechaun likes fracking. So fracking what ?

by Chip Northrup on January 21, 2013

The history of anti-Gasland mockumentaries repeats itself – again. The first time as tragedy – Shelly dePue’s painfully embarrassing Bubbling Annulus, (which is the unseen star of Truthyland), the second time as farce: Phlegm McKleer’s cut ‘n paste FrackNation.  Wherein Phlegm the Phracking Phreak explains the grass roots opposition to shale gas industrialization as a Russian plot.  That’s certainly news to me, tovarich. When I thought I was supposed to be working for the fracking Park Foundation. But it explains much about this irritating leprechaun’s antics: He’s just fracking nuts.

He teams up with frack flak Tom Shepstone. Which pretty much sums it up. Then hassles Yoko’s bus tour of the Pennsylvania frack zone. Check.

Gratuitous use of derivative movie title. FrackNation / GasLand. Get it ? Must have seemed clever after 4 pints of Guinness.  Trys to rip off Michael Moore’s documentary technique. Check. Makes a cheap fracking hash of it in the process. Check. Shills for shale so that it can be exported to China.  Surprised ? Uses the theme from The Twilight Zone as the soundtrack.  NatchFormer schtick as a climate-change-denial performance artists.  What else ? Bases opinions on work of the UB Shale Shamstitute and UT Frack Foundation. Of course ! Why fracking not ? Exhibit A on why Ireland just slapped a moratorium on fracking.  (They can have  the little fracker back.) Publicly mocks private citizens that have been damaged by fracking. Maybe not such a great idea (!) as Phreaky Phlegm finds out when goes to Fracksylvania to shill for the Fracking 1%. . . 

Documentary that challenges environmentalists on the hazards of hydraulic fracturing (1:17). Not rated. Quad.
Freelance journalist Phelim McAleer narrates his investigation of “green extremists” and their claims about the dangers of hydraulic fracturing — the petroleum and natural gas extraction known as fracking.
Though the film is titled “FrackNation,” it focuses almost exclusively on a small Pennsylvania town featured in director Josh Fox’s 2010 anti-fracking chronicle, “Gasland.” The climax here, a public confrontation between McAleer and Fox, turns anti-climactic. Fox simply ignores his antagonist and has him kicked out of the museum where Fox is speaking.
With many of McAleer’s facts coming from casual Internet searches (backed by boring shots of the computer screen), the accuracy of this crowd-sourced documentary — funded by small donations on Kickstarter — seems as reliable as a Wikipedia entry. Miriam Bale
Read more:

This documentary is the anti-”Gasland” with its highly favorable perspective on the controversial method of drilling known as fracking.

“It’s challenging being a film critic these days. Not only are we expected to have an expansive knowledge of the medium, but the endless profusion of political-themed documentaries require strong familiarity with practically every social issue of the day.
That bit of whining is prompted by FrackNation, the title of which should tell you that it deals with the controversial method of drilling for natural gas and petroleum known as fracking. It’s also the subject of Josh Fox’s acclaimed 2010 documentaryGasland — a principal target here — and the recently released Matt Damon drama Promised Land, which no doubt spurred the timing of this film’s theatrical debut.
Unlike those efforts, this Kickstarter-funded documentary featuring freelance journalist PhelimMcAleer takes a decidedly positive approach to the practice, pretty much heralding it as the savior of mankind. In scene after scene, the muckraking McAleer extolls its virtues and derides those lefty “green extremists” who would doom us to a return to the Stone Age.
The principal theme is the economic hardship imposed by rural communities and farmers by the banning of the process, which according to the film has been around since 1947. McAleer makes the claim that the vast majority affected are actually in favor of fracking, including numerous testimonials from heartland figures who make such claims that it would “maintain the natural beauty of the area” and that “shale gas is a gift from God.” More provocatively, he also purports that the anti-fracking movement is being funded by the Russians who are desperate to preserve their oil dominance.
Whatever the truth of these claims, the film undercuts its convincingness with its hyperbolic approach. Indeed, the climactic montage–detailing the importance of energy to everything ranging from tap water to kidney transplants — makes Reefer Madness seem subtle.
And McAleer’s dogged, Inspector Javert-like pursuit of Fox, to which the Gasland director responds by simply ignoring him, seems merely petulant. Compared to Michael Moore’s similar attempts to confront former General Motors CEO Roger Smith in Roger & Me, a film to which this effort aspires in terms of provocation if not politics, it’s silly stuff.”
Actually, it’s just another mash-up of propaganda for some frackers. Who the frack could have guessed that ?  
Phlegm McClear – the kind of fracking gashole that gives fracking gasholes a bad name.