Recently press reports about the movie Gasland have spotlighted the films central scene, where a man in Colorado lights his tap water on fire. The movie strongly suggests the cause is natural gas activity in the area. But according to documents obtained by the JLCand readily available to the publicstate regulators had already investigated the well and concluded the cause was biogenic (i.e. naturally occurring methane).

According to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commissions database of complaint investigation, a report filed by the state of Colorado found that when called to investigate a complaint from landowner Mark Markham, who is profiled in the film, the state found that there are no indications of oil and gas related impacts.

The report concludes that dissolved methane in well water appears to be biogenic in origin. These findings came out in the fall of 2008 and are publicly available. If the filmmaker was really trying to explore the issue, shouldnt he have been more upfront with the facts? This is an important part of the story that the filmmaker dismissed and instead chose to highlight misleading claims to draw attention to his film. This issue is critical to our community. Safety must always be first but decisions should be based on facts and science, not sensationalized accounts that are framed to frighten, rather than inform, the general public.

This entire feature about GASLAND was taken from the website of the Joint Landowners Coalition New York (

Please see that valuable website for more information on gas leasing and other natural gas issues.

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Comment by Tom Copley on January 24, 2012 at 7:03pm

The groundswell of enthusiasm for the movie Gasland keeps on gaining ground. Now the US EPA is bringing water to Dimock's residents and using its own wells to verify ground water pollution in Pavillion, WY. Is it merely that everyone loves a "bad news" story yet detests a "good news" one? Why doesn't the positive side of shale gas development ever gain very much traction in the public's imagination? I'm baffled!

Comment by Tom Copley on June 25, 2010 at 1:50pm
Most films are pure fiction; this one at least has a few aspects of truth to it. For example, there really is gas drilling in Colorado, Wyoming and Texas. There really were pollution issues in Dimock, PA.

Gasland has all the appearance of a film put together on a shoestring budget, and, similar to The Blair Witch Project, was shot with a hand-cam.

Josh Fox has sought tirelessly to promote the film by holding screenings wherever people would watch. This 37 year-old filmmaker from Wayne County, PA has shown himself to be something of a natural at guerilla marketing, even winning a coveted Sundance jury award and recent screening of his film on HBO.

My point is "why knock him?" He is a local boy made good, even if he did it by twisting the truth a little. He's done nothing worse than the National Enquirer does all the time. People keep laughing at the Enquirer's hyperbolic headlines, yet still reading them in the checkout line at the supermarket, and what harm is done?

We need to be big enough to have a sense of humor about this guy, and recognize that he has merely figured out how to tap into that deep well of concern, that many people have about the wholesale change that will be wrought by developing the Appalachian Basin's shale gas resources.

It makes little sense to try to counter him, when he's only giving voice to anxieties that many people share about what's happening and is going to happen. He's not making people nervous about gas drilling, they already are. --Tom
Comment by Daniel Natirboff on June 23, 2010 at 2:30pm
Thanks. I will further educate myself.
Comment by Daniel Natirboff on June 23, 2010 at 1:45pm
The Gasland explosive water was certainly sensationalist and could be considered a clearly slanted element in the film. That is one element however. As a landholder interested in leasing I am concerned about the other issues raised by the film. Specifically, the fact that the fracing fluid contents were not disclosed and are not subject to regulatory requirements of the clean water act. What about all the toxic compounds that are included that could potentially go into ground water, streams etc. What about the condensation tanks and the open pits where these compounds can leach into the environment. I understand many people do not have the luxury of refusing to lease out of concern for the environment because it is simply too much money to refuse. I only want assurances from the industry and regulators that all this is being done in the safest way possible and the industry is being held to the same standards as any other when it comes to what they realease into the environment. I am not a scientist and do not profess to be. Pennsylvania is beautiful with clean woods and streams that have recovered after great efforts from unmanaged growth. I am not interested in living in Saudi Arabia or Texas. I would rather forego the money and not be morally accountable for leasing if the industry is not being managed in a way that makes safeguarding the environment and public health priority 1.
Comment by Greg Ricks on June 21, 2010 at 6:31pm
Thank you for taking the time to set the record straight.
Comment by Keith Mauck (Site Publisher) on June 21, 2010 at 10:59am
Also note that I believe this information was originally taken from
Comment by Michael Havelka on June 21, 2010 at 10:56am
Thanks for the information... great stuff!
Comment by paleface on June 20, 2010 at 12:57pm
That movie should be under SCIENCE FICTION!

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