Matt Damon wanted to do a hit piece on fracking, the process by which natural gas is extracted from shale deposits deep in the ground. This would be a film promoting all the usual Hollywood eco-hysteria: Fracking will reduce your idyllic farm to a barren wasteland, poison your water and make blood spurt out of your ears. The film is about a “Promised Land,” like God’s gift to the Israelites of a land of milk and honey, which is threatened with utter destruction by the evil, greedy oil companies.
The funniest thing about the movie is, all the evidence Mr. Damon planned to use against fracking imploded. First Hollywood celebrities trooped to little Dimock, Pa., to bring fresh water to the 11 families who blamed fracking for polluting their wells, and then the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported their accusations were without merit. This was very bad news for Matt, since Dimock was the inspiration for his film, which is also set in Pennsylvania. Investigation of the wells had found some naturally occurring contaminants, but the regulators concluded, “There are not levels of contaminants present that would require additional action by the Agency.”
Mr. Damon may also have run across the alarming statement by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, who said after various EPA investigations, “In no case have we made a definitive determination that hydraulic fracturing has caused chemicals to enter groundwater.” Former EPA Administrator Carol Browner said the same thing years ago.
Did the evidence that fracking isn’t toxic to groundwater deter intrepid eco-apparatchik Mr. Damon from his appointed task? Of course not. The show must go on. Robbed of an enviro-horror story to tell or a factual leg to stand on, Mr. Damon and his partner in this crime, the amiable John Krasinski of “The Office,” rely on dark innuendo via goofy dialogue like this: Steve (Mr. Damon’s character, the oil company leasing sales guy) to Dustin Noble (get it?) the brave environmentalist: “We’re a 9 billion dollar company — do you know what we’re capable of?” Dustin Noble: “Do you?”
If you’re intent on creating a propaganda film but have no actual facts to make your case, you can always put your ugly yet unproven accusations in the mouth of the smartest guy in the room. In the film, he’s a high school science teacher named Frank Yates. But Frank is no ordinary science teacher — he’s a megabrain with a master’s in engineering from MIT and a Ph.D. from Cornell in physics, who worked in research and development for Boeing for 32 years. When this modern Einstein starts frack-trashing, saying it poisons water, kills livestock and renders the Promised Land unlivable, who would dare question him?
Read more at The Washington Times. By Joy Overbeck.
Photo credit: claire_h (Creative Commons)