Fracking Films Reflect Twists in Drilling Debate



PITTSBURGH (AP) — The boom in natural gas drilling has cast two opposing documentary filmmakers in unlikely roles.

Josh Fox, a liberal environmental activist, finds himself at odds with President Barack Obama. Phelim McAleer, a free-market conservative, is echoing the Democratic president's support for natural gas.

The two don't see eye-to-eye on much of anything, especially each other.

"He's a very skillful filmmaker," McAleer said of Fox. "He's one of the most trusted scientists in America at the moment, even though he has zero qualifications. I don't accept that, but a lot of Americans do."

Fox, in an email to The Associated Press, said McAleer "is not a credible source of information" and is "a climate change denier."

Their dueling documentaries — the sequel to Fox's Oscar-nominated "Gasland" aired July 8 on HBO and McAleer's "FrackNation" aired the following night on AXS — have clear aims when it comes to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the gas drilling method by which chemical-laced fluid is injected into the earth to free natural gas trapped deep underground.

Experts say the pro- and anti-drilling movements represented by the filmmakers each have some good points — even though Fox claims the process is an environmental and public health disaster while McAleer says Fox distorts facts and ignores the benefits of drilling.


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