Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tell Your Politicians: NO FRACKING WAY

Currently 34 states contain natural gas drilling sites, which is quickly contaminating drinking water through the process of hydraulic fracturing. As promised, here are a few ways you can put the heat on your politicians to pass safety regulations.

1. Call your representatives and senators and tell them to sponsor the FRAC Act currently making its way through Congress. The FRAC Act (Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act) is an attempt to amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to give the EPA authority over hydraulic fracturing. It would also require oil and gas drilling companies to disclose the chemicals used in fracking. Check out this article to learn more about the bill.

2. Get to know your local environmental groups to stay in touch with local legislation. The Environmental Working Group has a lot of great info about natural gas drilling around the country. And the Delaware Riverkeeper is keeping a vigilant watch over the situation with the Marcellus Shale here in PA. For a list of environmental organizations in your state, please visit Eco-USA.

3. Pennsylvanians: vote in the upcoming democratic primary. Joe Hoeffel is the only gubernatorial candidate who wants to put a moratorium on natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania. To read more about Joe's campaign to protect our drinking water visit his page on the Marcellus Shale.

4. Visit the GASLAND blog. Josh Fox has been taking his natural gas doc, GASLAND, on a grassroots tour to raise awareness of the issue, and has been updating the blog and Facebook page about drilling issues in the Marcellus Shale and around the country.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Future Weather Wins Grant From TFI's Sloan Filmmaker Fund

You heard it here first, folks!! FUTURE WEATHER just won a second Alfred P. Sloan Grant--this time from the Tribeca Film Institute! We'll be attending the fest next week where the project will be featured in a Sloan Works-In-Progress series. We're honored to be working with TFI and extremely excited to be championed by such an impressive selection committee:

Julie Goldstein (Producer, Proof), Dr. Martin Chalfie (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Professor of Biological Sciences at Columbia University), Dr. Patricia Bath (Opthamalogist and Founder of the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness), Anne Carey (Producer, Adventureland) and Dr. Gabriel Cwilich (Professor of Physics at Yeshiva University).

Stay tuned to our Twitter feed for live posts from the Tribeca Film Fest!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

URGENT: Delaware River Basin Commission needs your feedback today!

5pm TODAY is the deadline to voice your concern to the DRBC regarding the proposed Stone Energy Surface Water Withdrawal and Natural Gas Well Site.

Please email a statement that includes your address to: Subject line should read: "Public Comment - Stone Energy Dockets."

Here's a sample letter you can use, compliments of the Delaware Riverkeeper.

Here's an in-depth fact-sheet about fracking in the Delaware River Basin, compliments of the Delaware Riverkeeper.

Or you can speak out via Citizen Speak, which has a handy email all set up for you:

The Story of Gasland is the Story of Our Land

A resident of Dimock, PA pours water that came from his well after start of natural gas fracking. Credit: High Country News

I attended a very full screening of GASLAND last night at the Prince Music Theater. It was a mesmerizing, maddening and tragic expose of an environmental issue that I suspect is going to be one of the biggest environmental issues of our time: drilling for natural gas.

The story is not a new one in America's history, and the negligence (greed, secrecy, etc. etc.) of the natural gas industry and the government agencies that should be monitoring this industry in the name of public safety, can be added to a long list of ways that America is on a fast track to making our country completely unlivable.

The problem? Hydraulic fracturing or fracking--the method for extracting the enormous stores of natural gas currently embedded in geologic formations across this country--is extremely toxic. A lethal cocktail of chemicals (among them formaldehyde, pesticides and plastics) is mixed with hundreds of millions of gallons of water and forced underground to open up pockets of gas. What happens to this wastewater afterwards?* Who cares? The gas companies are making money, and that's the bottom line, right?

But what director Josh Fox uncovers is that this wastewater is contaminating the communities who reside near natural gas wells, and doing it an a alarming rate. Polluted, flammable tap water; sick pets and livestock; reports of chronic headaches; asthma, body pain and other illnesses in humans; the list is long and chilling.

And what kind of law could possibly exist in this great land of ours that makes it possible for the natural gas industry to get away with such atrocities? An Energy Policy Bill passed in 2005 by the Bush-Cheney administration. It provided tax incentives for energy production and exempted oil and gas producers from safety regulations specified in the Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Acts. And so began an unregulated natural gas boom across the nation. Wild west style. It may be good for reducing our dependence on foreign oil (and the Axis of Evil), but it threatens to pollute our waterways, which--as Fox so poignantly illustrates in old footage of Woody Guthrie singing "This Land is Your Land"--are literally all connected.

Currently 34 states are impacted by the natural gas industry. One of the largest regions for drilling is right here in Pennsylvania and stretches across the Delaware River Basin, a watershed that provides water to over 15 million people across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, 2 million of which are customers of the Philadelphia Water Department.

Click here for a GASLAND screening near you.

For ways you can make your voice heard about this issue, read our upcoming blog, "Tell Your Politicians No Fracking Way".

*To learn more about what actually happens to fracking wastewater, check out this informative blog about the fracking process from a resident of Hickory, PA.

Thanks to Delaware Riverkeeper and a March 25 Resolution by Philadelphia City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown for other citations.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Get Smart About Natural Gas

This Saturday, April 10th, is a good day to get informed about a serious issue affecting Pennsylvanians' drinking water: drilling for natural gas. At 5:30, the Philadelphia Film Fest is screening GASLAND at the Prince Music Theater. And at 8:30, GASLAND director Josh Fox and Joe Hoeffel will host a Q&A about responsible gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale at Naked Chocolate Cafe.

We've heard fantastic things about GASLAND, which won the Special Jury Prize at this year's Sundance Film Fest. We've also had the pleasure of meeting Joe Hoeffel, the only democrat running for governor of PA with a progressive agenda. With four weeks until the primary, Saturday is great opportunity to learn more about Joe's stance on the environment and what it will take to get a progressive elected in November who will protect our drinking water.

About the Film:
GASLAND follows filmmaker Josh Fox as he sets off on a 24-state journey to uncover the deep consequences of the United States' natural gas drilling boom after he discovers that Natural Gas drilling is coming to his area—the Catskillls/Poconos region of Upstate New York and Pennsylvania. What he uncovers is truly shocking—water that can be lit on fire right out of the sink, chronically ill residents of drilling areas from disparate locations in the US all with the same mysterious symptoms, huge pools of toxic waste that kill cattle and vegetation well blowouts and huge gas explosions consistently covered up by state and federal regulatory agencies. For more information about the film visit

The Marcellus Shale Region:
The Marcellus Shale runs through the western region of Pennsylvania and contains largely untapped gas reserves. This area has produced natural gas for years, however, many gas production companies are now becoming interested in the Marcellus after only recently have figuring out a way to extract it from the region. Now gas drillers are looking to lease local land in an attempt to find and remove the gas. Marcellus Shale is thought to contain enough natural gas to supply the entire United States for two years. To learn more about the Marcellus Shale region visit

The Effects:
Natural gas is a fossil fuel that is often promoted as "cleaner" than coal, but it has caused more cases of environmental illness than any other substance, even pesticides. The drilling process is called hydraulic fracturing. It involves millions of gallons of water and dozens of chemicals. Each well drilled can produce millions of gallons of chemical-laced, industrial waste water. Currently, the natural gas industry is not responsible for treating this waste water. To learn more about the negative effects of natural gas, please visit

The Campaign:
Joe Hoeffel is the only PA gubernatorial candidate who is calling for a Moratorium on issuing more Marcellus Shale gas drilling permits until we know how to properly treat the waste water and meet the standards of the Safe Drinking Water and Clean Water Acts. Joe Hoeffel has earned support of environmental leaders and activists for his sound policies in the state house and congress. Joe Hoeffel will fight for responsible gas drilling with strong environmental regulations. To read more about his campaign, visit

Event Info:
Screening hosted by Philadelphia Film Society. Tickets available for purchase one hour before show. For tickets to the Q&A benefit reception, visit