Otherwise known as fracking, the method of natural-gas extraction is hailed by the energy industry (and those the industry has helped elevate to regulatory government positions) while simultaneously drawing fire from critics in the media, Hollywood and environmental groups.
Thus far this year, the Environmental Protection Agency pushed back hard on criticism of its report that found a link between fracking and the pollution of an aquifer in Pavilion, Wyo. That was followed by Josh Fox, maker of the 2010 anti-fracking documentary Gasland, being thrown out of a congressional hearing — a brouhaha that might have been his publicist’s wettest of wet dreams.
And now hydraulic fracturing is incurring the wrath of … Matt Damon.
Yes, Jason Bourne himself is set to star in The Promised Land, a film which the central conflict will revolve around fracking. Damon reportedly contributed to the script.
But not all are willing to take the word of Hollywood — or even the EPA — that fracking might be dangerous business.
Representatives from Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Devon Energy, along with state Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy, spoke to members of the Oklahoma Academy about the safety of fracking during an April 11 symposium on water issues.
Murphy said the EPA data in the Pavilion case was questionable, and criticized the media for hastily accepting the data.
“It seems like we’re very quick in the media to jump out and say, ‘This is a problem,’ before dealing with the facts,” Murphy said. “Once it’s out there, it’s out there. You have to be concerned when things come out real quickly without the backup of the data.”