No Fracking in the Promised Land


Promised Land, a new film co-written by and starring Matt Damon, comes out on Dec. 28. Do as you like, but based on what I know, I will not be rushing out to see it.

The subject of Promised Land is the potential damage of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on a small Pennsylvania town. An unbiased treatment of this subject would contribute to the nation’s understanding of hydraulic fracturing, a drilling technique whose recent technological advances have transformed America’s energy future. Such an unbiased consideration would reflect the fact that of the 50,000 oil and gas wells that have been drilled using the technique, none has resulted in significant groundwater pollution. Nor is there evidence of adverse effects of air pollution on humans or animals living in the vicinity of fracking operations (just the sort of damage that apparently plays a central role in this film).

There is, however, incontrovertible evidence that fracking has the potential to transform America into the world’s largest energy-producer. That evidence was the basis of the International Energy Agency’s recent projection that the U.S. would surpass Saudi Arabia in oil and gas production by 2020 and achieve energy-independence by 2035. Maybe that is why, according to credible reports, Promised Land has been partly funded by Abu Dhabi, a major exporter of natural gas.



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