“Imagine discovering that you don’t own the mineral rights under your land, and that an energy company plans to drill for natural gas two hundred feet from your front door. Split Estate maps a tragedy in the making, as citizens in the path of a new drilling boom in the Rocky Mountain West struggle against the erosion of their civil liberties, their communities and their health.”
I had the opportunity to attend a screening of the new Documentary film Spilt Estate by Debra Anderson. The film was brought to Carbondale by members of the Thompson Divide Coalition who are working to save public land in and around the Roaring Fork and Crystal Valleys from Oil and gas drilling.
For our community, the film is a cautionary tale. While the damage has already been done in communities like Silt and Rifle, we are still in a position to mitigate the impact that oil and gas drilling will have on our community, our watershed, and our health. The following are three interesting things I learned from watching this film.
1) Hydrolic Fracturing (Fracking), the process used to extract natural gas, injects toxic chemicals along with water in sand into the ground to create fractures that release the natural gas and allow it to flow to the surface. The chemicals being used are proprietary, and are not disclosed by companies for fear of losing their competitive edge.
2) There has been widespread documentation of serious health problems as a result of exposure to these chemicals. The film features interviews with many people whose health has been effected.
3) Under the 2005 Energy Policy act, the natural gas industry is exempt from The Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Recourse Conservation and Recovery Act, the Superfund Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act. In other words, all of the regulations put in place to protect the health and safety of others do not apply.
View the Split Estate Movie Trailer.