Shreveporter featured in natural gas documentary

Shreveporter featured in natural gas documentary

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The petroleum industry, with help from a LSU Shreveport hydrologist, is pushing back against a widely praised but controversial film documentary that strongly criticizes hydraulic fracturing.

"Truthland," a 34-minute film produced by the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), presents an alternative view to that expressed in the Oscar-nominated film "Gasland," which HBO aired in 2010. As the LSUS Hydrologist in Residence, Gary Hanson was interviewed as an expert on water conservation and management of the Haynesville Shale.

Hanson says he was shocked by what he saw in the HBO film. "When I first saw HBO's Gasland I couldn't even make it through the whole movie," says Hanson.

"Gasland" filmmaker Josh Fox interviewed several scientists, state and federal political officials, and Environmental Protection Agency administrators to showcase the environmental effects of natural gas drilling on the American landscape as well as to property owners. In one scene, Fox shows a homeowner who uses a cigarette lighter to ignite gas from a well water faucet in his home, which the film attributes to natural gas exploration in the area. "It's methane coming up through the earth naturally. It has nothing to do with fracking. Nothing to do with fracking at all," says Hanson.

But "Truthland" seeks to debunk this and other allegations, and Hanson helps to lead the counterattack. "I guess you call them activists. Some call them fractivists. Some of them are listening to people that just don't have the right knowledge," says Hanson."When you pull all that data together and look at the water tables and compare them, it's very obvious that fracking does not get to the surface," says Hanson. Hanson says he has nothing to gain by being part of the movie but was bothered by what he calls scare tactic in "Gasland".

"It's literally impossible to (hydraulically fracture) into a groundwater zone," says Hanson, who is joined in "Truthland" by a cast of fellow university professors, scientists, engineers, state and federal politicos, farmers and property owners.

"Truthland" premiered earlier this month with screenings in New  York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. But you can catch the entire film on the website

"I want to show it as much as we can," says Hanson.

For more information about hydraulic fracturing or the LSUS Red River Watershed Management Institute that Hanson directs, call Hanson at (318) 797-5215.

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