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Gasland director baffled by no-show of film in Australia

Josh Fox. Photo americanfilmshowcase.usc.edu

Josh Fox. Photo americanfilmshowcase.usc.edu

Luis Feliu

The Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker whose film Gasland lit a fuse under the coal-seam gas (CSG) industry told a Byron Bay audience on Saturday he’s baffled as to why his latest followup is not being promoted in Australia.

Josh Fox’s Gasland Part II documentary, one of the feature-films Byron Bay International Film Festival, has recently been released in the US and is set for distribution by a cable-TV company part-owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

But Fox has expressed fears his  latest followup documentary, which includes an Australian perspective on the CSG boom, may not get to the much wider Australian audience expected.

During a live video link up from his US home to the Byron film festival audience which had just watched his film at the Byron Community Centre, Fox said there appeared to be a holdup with the distribution company/cable network in Australia, and he had hoped it would already have been released.

‘I’m confused and disappointed why this is so,’ he told the audience, some who audibly gasped when Rupert Murdoch’s name was mentioned in relation to the potential link to the film rights in Australia.

(Subscription television provider Foxtel, part owned by Murdoch’s News Corp empire, owns the licensed distribution rights for Gasland Part II).

Fox said the documentary arm of the giant US cable-tv network HBO had been ‘fantastic’ and the company’s reach into the homes of 40 million viewers around the US would be a boon for the Gasland documentaries.

Fox told the Byron audience the latest film highlighted how democracy was being hijacked by the powerful gas and energy industries all around the world.

He said the taking away of ordinary rights of people to protect their water and food land was the greatest risk and people should fight in every peaceful way they knew how.

Gasland Part II showed the long term impacts of the controversial practice of fracking blamed for poisoning underground water supplies and causing earthquakes and health impacts.

The film shows how just one gas well can soon become a huge barren wasteland, forcing locals off their land in the US.

It also showed how governments operate hand in glove with the CSG industry.

Fox told the Byron audience he was impressed with the local campaign by Lock the Gate when he toured Australia recently to see and film the southeast Queensland gasfields, including a segment on the impacts there as part of the latest documentary.

He also encouraged people to continue the fight in Australia by every peaceful means available, in response to a  question from a member of the audience who asked why his latest film lacked footage of any direct-action civil disobedience campaigns by some against CSG.

(The anti-CSG campaigns on the northern rivers have seen some people use actions which led to arrests at Doubtful Creek near Kyogle and Glenugie near Grafton last year.)

Fox, one of the most prominent public critics of fracking, shows in his latest film how he was arrested in 2012 during a US House of Representatives subcommittee hearing on hydraulic fracturing when he attempted to videotape proceedings.

Road blocked

Meanwhile, at the proposed gas-drilling site at Bentley near Lismore where campaigners have set up a camp, a new protest group has joined the blockade at the proposed drilling site.

The group by the name of ‘The Front Line Against Gas’ (FLAG) issued a press statement yesterday against Metgasco’s planned tight sand gas exploration project.

FLAG, according to spokesperson Naomi Tarrant, is ‘a loose alliance of farmers, locals, landowners and business owners who have united in their opposition to gasfields in the northern rivers’.

‘We are a diverse group of residents of this region who are distressed at the impending high risk activities that Metgasco has planned,’ Ms Tarrant said.

‘Today, Monday, 3 March, an installation was found that blocks the road to Metgasco’s planned tight sand gas exploration project as the protest against Metgasco’s planned activities heats up,’ she said.

‘This unsafe industry threatens our water, our air, our health and our livelihoods with its toxic activities.

‘Metgasco wants to drill a two-kilometre deep gas well that will most likely require hydraulic fracturing or fracking, just 14 kilometres upstream from Lismore CBD.

‘With operational activities scheduled to begin any day now, someone has blocked the main drive to the planned exploration site.’

‘FLAG is prepared to use non-violent direct action to safely protest and halt any upcoming operational activities.

‘The majority of the northern rivers community is opposed to the establishment of invasive industrial gasfields and the NSW Chief Scientist’s report on health and safety risks of gas mining is still outstanding.

‘Yet despite the lack of social license and the lack of proper risk assessment, the state government and Metgasco are moving recklessly ahead,’ she said.

 Legal campground

Campaigners have secured a legal temporary camp ground approval for up to 200 people near the site.

Richmond Valley Council and Gasfield Free Northern Rivers, acting on behalf of landholders David and John Scarrabelotti, have done a deal to formalise the campsite next to the property where Metgasco proposes to drill.

Bentley local Ross Joseph welcomed the approval, saying it ‘shows that the people of Bentley and the northern rivers are committed to protecting our land and water from gasfield industrialisation’.

‘This camp is open to people of the northern rivers who are committed to keeping our beautiful farmland gasfield free through peaceful direct action and non-violent protest,’ Mr Joseph said.

‘It’s a “working camp” for those with big hearts and cool heads who want to contribute through volunteering, donations and logistical support.

‘Local residents of Bentley and Gasfield Free Northern Rivers are especially appreciative of David and John Scarrabelotti whose land the camp is situated on.

‘This is a prime example of the generosity and dedication local farmers have shown in keeping the region gasfield free.

‘Metgasco is on notice that they have no social licence to force their drilling rig onto farmland at Bentley.

‘The community is outraged that their elected government representatives are not listening to them, and we demand that the state government steps in to stop this toxic industry,’ he said.

 


21 responses to “Gasland director baffled by no-show of film in Australia”

  1. Ivan Ransom says:

    Baffled ? Not if you believe in Vested Interests ! Democracy is certainly being hijacked and you only have to look up the donations to political parties to see who is doing what.

    • john vaughan says:

      Baffled? It doesn’t take much to baffle Josh Fox, you only have view the FrackNation doco to see a baffled Josh refusing to answer questions on the integrity of his GasLands doco put by his peers.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cKhY2Edt2Q&list=UU0xmod39GwOvyyTy1M5pHLg

      Josh should be reminded of the late great Franklin D. Roosevelt saying ” you have nothing to fear but fear itself”.
      It now obvious that Josh Fox is getting seriously rich running his particular fear campaign.
      LTG should send Josh out to the Cooper Basin where you and yours and NSW industry have safely been getting gas for over fifty years. Yes with fracking, yes with no earthquakes ,yes with no impact on water tables or human health.
      The same could be said for the decade old AGL Camden gas harvesting project in NSW.
      Why do LTG and Greens need to bring in US imports like Josh Fox or USA ranchers to rev up their fear campaign?
      NO local talent? Or is it as it seems that they can’t find a few in any of the thousands of farmers who have signed voluntary agreements with gas companies in Queensland to inflame the fear campaign here.

      • Ellen White says:

        There is serious ecological damage in the Cooper Basin – square kilometers of vegetation are destroyed around the well site. Why hasn’t there been any monitoring?

      • Mr Vaughan,
        McAleer can best be described as a favourite corporate third-party advocate, a hired gun to sow seeds of doubt on the ecological impacts of fracking. Frack Nation was funded by the API (American Petroleum Institute), EID (Energy In Depth) and other gas companies as uncovered by many investigative reporters, McAleer under the cover of Kickstarter funded this so called factual documentary however, it’s clear darker forces at play which most can see unless your trying to make money off the backs of Australian landholders. Mr Vaughan you are also trying to make money off the backs of Australian landholders, your comments are clearly biased towards the gas industry. Your statements about the Copper Basin are partly true however if you really research what you are saying they are exactly that partly true, Fracking has been used for 60 years however fracking in it’s current form has only been employed since 2003 it’s like comparing a 1909 model T Ford to the modern 150 F truck there is no comparison which some simple fact checking will uncover. AGL have breached air emissions from their Camden operation as stated by the NSW EPA I really could go on and on however most will see that you are the spokes person for Metgasco shareholders which clearly shows your comments are always going to favour the gas industry!

  2. Peter Crick says:

    Our sickly lying illiterate Liberal government who loves business more than equality or anything that is in the least bit visionary beyond next election/year/month/week where the world/people benefit and business could also if the Government showed any more fortitude than sitting there twiddling their thumbs and staying out of the way is in no way going to allow this film to surface as it’s great mate, News Corp, will do exactly what it is told. Get another method to distribute the film.
    Government members should be paid 50% wages when Liberal are in – they do so little, have no vision, stay away from project management of any kind. Just want to swan around and enjoy their time in the sun. Self interested to the core.

  3. Param Berg says:

    The obvious inference is Murdoch got it not to screen it but to prevent screening. Unless proved otherwise. What can be done?

  4. Not sure why Gasland is promoted as having lit the fuse under the CSG Industry in Australia. That is quite an insult to those of us who were fighting this Industry long before Josh Fox began his self promotion campaign. That is as stupid as saying Drew Hutton started Lock The Gate Alliance.
    Fox over sensationalized in his documentary, He used the dramatic footage from the previously released Split-Estate documentary and basically became part of the problem rather than part of the solution. While Fox and Co. have increased the attention being given to the CSG issue, the lack of factual integrity in Gasland has allowed the Industry to undermine the efforts of those of us who are fighting CSG. If Fox paid more attention to his sources and telling the truth his efforts would have some real value.+

  5. Judi Emmett says:

    I am one of many, many people who would like to thank you for your movie ‘Gaslands’. I live in northern New South Wales in a beautiful valley where, in 2010, an exploratory well was drilled by a gas company. No community consultation, no warning, no nothing. Some of us locals researched Coal Seam Gas and we were horrified! We spent the rest of that year trying to educate local people about the dangers invasive gas mining and the associated ‘fracking’ process posed on our clean water………… it was like hitting your head against a brick wall……. UNTIL, in late 2010, ‘Gaslands’ was screened in Lismore at the Star Court Theatre and the penny dropped.
    I will be forever grateful and look forward to seeing ‘Gaslands 2″ next Saturday in Lismore. Wish you were here – I would like to shake your hand!

  6. Michael McNamara says:

    I contacted the distributors of Gasland when I heard that Gasland 2 had been released. I heard nothing back

    Josh need not be concerned that here is a lack of interest – only a lack of availability and contact.

    We are keen to promote showings of Gasland 2 and I will now try to contact the Australian dsistributors to get it happening.

    Cheers
    Michael

  7. Michael McNamara says:

    I am happy to declare my “interest” as a local anti-CSG activist and a member of the LTGA Board of Directors. I have nothing to gain but an empowered community and our land, water and health being protected. It’s a pity that John Vaughan does not declare his direct pecuniary interest as a major shareholder in Metgasco when posting comments here.

    Cheers
    Michael

  8. Every time a gas or oil well is built, the water table through which the well passes suffers contamination. Surface spills, accidental and intentional illegal discharges of waste, air emissions, etc aside, the construction of the well itself is contaminating. For an explanation of how and why this happens:

    “Dr. Ingraffea Discusses Gas Well Construction and Hydrofracking”- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N60hcRzAK_0

  9. John Vaughan. I worked in the seismic oil survey industry as a contract surveyor from ’78 till ’88 in the cooper basin & more. We did not use fracking as used today to do the research. There were minor surface explosions to get recordings. Some times it was just done with vibrating pads under trucks. This was nothing to do with modern fracking… happy to discuss this with you any time. I worked for Santos, Dehli petroleum & others over 10 years. This modern stuff is not related to those fields. We were also (if a good result happened) drilling up to 2km down. Not 100 m below the surface… peter

  10. john vaughan says:

    Peter things have moved on since 1988, Your so called “modern fracking” has been used for over forty years. Santos has been using fracking for many years in the Cooper basin and as the article below shows NSW is and will be dependent on it for years to come.

    “Cooper Basin only region outside US commercially producing shale gas”

    Paul Garvey The Australian December 20, 2013 12:00AM

    SANTOS is hailing a major breakthrough in its efforts to prove the shale gas possibilities of the Cooper Basin, with its latest shale gas well pointing to a “potentially material” extension of its Moomba North gas field.

    The company yesterday said its Moomba-194 shale well was flowing gas at a rate of three million standard cubic feet per day, largely replicating the results from its maiden Moomba-191 shale well last year.

    Gas from the well will be connected to Santos’s nearby infrastructure, allowing it to be sold into the domestic gas market in the near term.

    The production from the two wells, Santos said, has established the Cooper Basin as the only region outside of the US that is currently commercially producing shale gas.

    Santos vice-president for Eastern Australia, James Baulderstone, said the well proved the unconventional gas potential of the Cooper Basin.

    “It shows it’s not just a one-hit-wonder, and that there’s much more to come,” Mr Baulderstone said.

    The next challenge, he said, would be establishing just how big the shale gas resources and reserves in the basin were, and how quickly they could be developed. “It’s a big tick in the box for Australian unconventional gas production,” he said.

    “This is why a large number of international experts see the Cooper Basin as the pre-eminent shale resource outside the US.”

    Recent rises in gas prices on the east coast meant that the well would be commercially viable, he said, despite the gas not containing significant volumes of higher value liquids like oil and condensate.

    “It will take a bit of time and a bit more money to unlock it, but at these sorts of rates it puts you right there with something that’s really quite exciting,” Mr Baulderstone said

  11. I wonder how many households in this region use bottled gas in their homes and for their barbecues? Do they every wonder where the gas comes from? They could change to electric cookers of course but then that would mean burning even more coal and gas to make the electricity. Nearly all the electricity used comes from coal. Their solar panels probably won’t be able to cook their evening meal. Ask the poor people of Morwell what they thing of coal. They would probably jump at the chance of CSG.

  12. Eco LandManager says:

    John Vaughan, you are a major shareholder in Metgasco. Enough said

  13. Tom Jacobs says:

    Wake up. For God sake some of you need to take a drive around Queensland and see how gas has been produced onshore here for 50 years. Josh Fox is a movie maker – he makes fiction. Get on the web and have a took at a video called Truthland. Fox knows damn well he is telling lies – these lies have made him very wealthy and he is going to continue to milk fear and uncertainty as far as he can. Have a look at what the CSIRO says or look at the USA Environmental Protection Agency. There is no basis for these lies and fear. The plastic in your I phone comes from natural gas – lets shut it all down! The buses in town are powered by natural gas and gas makes the air in town cleaner – as it burns more efficiently than coal or diesel as fuels.

    There is a lack of interest in showing Gasland 2 as people are starting to wake up that is garbage. Its only the tree hugging hemp wearers that want to waste part of their lives watching it.

  14. Tom Jacobs says:

    Eco Land Manager. You have been brainwashed by people peddling fear and lies and have failed to read and research enough to form your own educated view. You are a hypocrite for using fossil fuels and benefiting from them while you complain about them. Enough said.

  15. Tom Jacobs says:

    Fact. The first hydraulic fracture stimulation treatments were performed in 1947. Since then over 2 million have been performed around the world. Hundreds and hundreds have been performed onshore in Australia – mostly in South Australia and Queensland. Could one of the very well educated greens who are opposed to this practice PLEASE GIVE ONE EXAMPLE (from the hundreds that have been conducted in Aus) of a hydraulic fracture stimulation that has caused ANY DAMAGE WHATSOEVER? I thought not. There endeth the lesson.

    C’mon, If you want to argue a point at least turn up with some facts instead of rumour and gut feel and garbage.

  16. Gillian Blair says:

    The truth is evident. Fracking has caused pollution of a NSW aquifer, which now has twenty times the allowable level of radium (released from the rocks during fracking). Go figure.

  17. Neil A. says:

    There is nothing “natural” about gas extracted by Hydraulic fracturing methods. This gas is not for the domestic market but solely for export & quick profits. The gas used in our motor vehicles, homes & cars is LPG(Liquid Petroleum Gas) which is a by product of petrol refining. The claims made above regarding Josh Fox are typical of self interested gas industry shils. He hasn’t told any lies, that ball lies squarely in the Gas Industries court. The Hydraulic fracking technique used today is new(15 years) & completely incomparable to those first used in 1947 & up to recently. To use that premise for it’s safety is a lie. Hydraulic fracking is classed as “unconventional” gas extraction is a combination of 4 different technologies that have been combined. The large scale of this operation is what poses the greatest risks for contamination of the enviroment. So called “Natural Gas” may burn cleaner than any other “fossil” fuel but it is not cleaner in it’s life cycle… making it just as dirty as coal. Try researching Dr. Tony Ingraffea Professor & expert on Fracking Mechanics.

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