Jan 23, 2013 11:30 AM by Evan Weborg (firstname.lastname@example.org)
HELENA - The controversy surrounding the process of hydraulic fracturing - "fracking" - continues to grow in Montana as the oil and gas industry keeps growing.
The documentary film "FrackNation" premiered in Helena on Tuesday night, promoting the benefits and safety of this kind of drilling.
Fracking is a term used to describe the technique used to release oil and gas for extraction by oil and gas companies.
The issue is controversial due to what some believe is its possible impact on ground water.
"The facts are, fracking has the potential to, and does, contaminate ground water. We need to be very careful with our groundwater resources," said Derf Johnson with the Montana Environmental Information Center.
The 2010 documentary "GasLand" took a look at the problems surrounding fracking, and in response, film-maker Phelim McAleer recently made "FrackNation," which he claims is both pro-truth and pro-investigative journalism.
"In our research for 'FrackNation,' we find that fracking has been going on for 60, 70 years, and there is not one proven peer-reviewed case of fracking ever having contaminated ground water," McAleer said.
That claim is where the controversy truly lies in this debate.
"There has been a study out of Pavillion, Wyoming, by the [U.S.] Environmental Protection Agency that...was conclusive that the process of fracking actually contaminated ground water," Johnson countered.
Another storyline is being able to actually light tap water on fire as a result of fracking, something that was shown in the "Gas Land" film.
"It is just not true. Yes you can light your water, but people could light their tap water 100 of years ago," McAleer explained.