'Fracknation' Seeks the Fracking Truth

Fracknation, a new documentary film by investigative journalist Phelim McAleer, Ann McElhinney and Magda Segieda premieres Tuesday night, January 22 at 9:00 PM EST on AXS-TV (click for cable and satellite access info).


In FrackNation journalist Phelim McAleer faces threats, cops and bogus lawsuits questioning green extremists for the truth about fracking. McAleer uncovers fracking facts suppressed by environmental activists, and he talks with rural Americans whose livelihoods are at risk if fracking is banned. Emotions run high but the truth runs deep.

If you’re a “low-information voter” whose opinions are shaped solely by the mainstream press, you’ll find Fracknation‘s story shocking indeed:

…. Farmers and townsfolk who actually welcome gas drilling activity to their home county!
See! …. The mountain of permits and studies required to drill a single Marcellus gas well in Pennsylvania!
See! …. The shock and disappointment of a Dimock, PA landowner when told by the EPA that his drinking water is perfectly safe to drink!
See! …. Sabina, an elderly Polish pensioner who spends half her monthly income on Russian-sourced natural gas!
See! …. Academy Award™-nominated director Josh Fox avoid answering questions which threaten to reveal him as a total fraud!

In this trailer for Fracknation, we meet Craig and Julie Sautner of Dimock, PA, plaintiffs in a lawsuit against a natural gas operating company who they say ruined their well water by fracking. Mr. Sautner is not happy to learn from EPA representatives that his well water is perfectly safe to drink. Mr. Sautner apparently values his lawsuit above “the land, the water and the children” that are the usual claimed priorities of anti-frackers. (His claim of “
weapons-grade uranium” in his water is either ignorant or a lie.)

McAleer et al raised some $221,000 on grassroots fundraising website Kickstarter to fund the film.

Fracknation takes the lies and misrepresentations of Fox’s GasLand and Matt Damon’s Promised Land head-on.

In Fracknation, we meet the farmers who see income from natural gas as their only hope to keep their family farms independent.

"The gas has bailed us out. The gas has saved us. That's all there is to it." — Tyler (18). His father Ron leased a small part of his farm for gas production. Thanks to the royalties, Ron says he will be able to keep the farm intact and pass it onto his son.
“The gas has bailed us out. The gas has saved us. That’s all there is to it.” — Tyler (18). His father Ron leased a small part of his farm for gas production. Thanks to the royalties, Ron says he will be able to keep the farm intact and pass it onto his son.

In Fracknation, we see landowners joining forces to tell the gas operator what lease terms they will accept, a stark contrast to Promised Land‘s portrayal of landowners as helpless sheep.

In Fracknation, we meet the engineers and operators who actually plan and carry out the fracking. Many of them live and raise their families in the area and call it home.

But it is when McAleer asks about the motives of the money behind the anti-fracking movement that the story takes a truly intriguing turn. The rank-and-file “anti” protester may be an earnest student, housewife or Sierra Club member. But whose interest are they serving with their protests? Fracknation dares to ask the question, and the answer is one that you’ll never hear on the six o’clock news or read in The New York Times.

McAleer’s final attempt to confront Josh Fox was at a reception at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. Here, the irony runs rich and deep. The museum houses the art collection of Armand Hammer, an American doctor and investor who founded Occidental Petroleum in the 1950s. Early in his career, however, Hammer made a fortune as the owner of a pencil factory in the Soviet Union, selling supplies under a sweetheart contract with the nascent revolutionary regime. This was no coincidence, as Hammer’s father, Dr. Julius Hammer, was a founder of the Socialist Labor Party of America, predecessor of the Communist Party USA. In the 1980s, Armand Hammer encouraged the political aspirations of Senator Al Gore, Jr., whose father was also a U.S. Senator from Tennessee and a member of the board of Occidental Petroleum.


Everyone interested in the truth behind the fracking controversy should see Fracknation. The premiere on AXS-TV is available on the major satellite systems as well as Comcast and other major cable providers. If it is not available in your area, a DVD can be purchased at the Fracknation website.

Cross-posted at stevemaley.com.

Steve Maley is a petroleum engineer and the operations manager for a small oil and gas company which has no stake in the fracking controversy.


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