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Conservative Group Screens Pro-Fracking Documentary in Kalispell
Americans for Prosperity on statewide energy tour
As part of its “Energy for Montana” tour, the conservative group Americans for Prosperity stopped in Kalispell last week to show a screening of the documentary film FrackNation, which pushes back against critics of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”

Representatives from Americans for Prosperity’s Montana chapter and the Montana Petroleum Association are visiting eight towns across the state to show the film, including two more: Bozeman on May 29 and Billings on May 30. The Kalispell showing was on May 22 at Sykes in Kalispell.

The documentary, directed by filmmaker and journalist Phelim McAleer, is a response to the 2010 Academy Award-nominated documentary Gasland, which laid out environmental and human health concerns of hydraulic fracturing uncovered by filmmaker Josh Fox.

Hydraulic fracturing, often called fracking, is a method of extracting natural gas and oil from shale formations used widely in places such as North Dakota and Pennsylvania. McAleer’s film posits that Fox’s documentary was flawed and misleading, and sets out to paint a much more positive picture of fracking as a safe process with far-reaching economic benefits.

Among the crowd gathered in Sykes’ basement were current and former Republican state lawmakers, including Columbia Falls Rep. Jerry O’Neil, former Whitefish Rep. Derek Skees and Kalispell Sen. Verdell Jackson. Former Belgrade lawmaker, Joe Balyeat, presented the film as the state director for Americans for Prosperity.

“Quite frankly, we’re on the edge of a technological miracle,” Balyeat said of fracking. “And I believe it’s a clean technological miracle.”

Balyeat went on to describe the large discrepancy in oil and gas development between North Dakota and Montana, blaming Montana’s lower output on regulations, taxes and activist courts, in addition to acknowledging the role of certain geological factors.
“North Dakota is booming,” he said, “and unfortunately Montana is not.”

Gasland gained widespread notoriety, including awards and critical acclaim, for its exploration into fracking’s repercussions. McAleer’s film takes on both Fox – Gasland’s filmmaker – personally and a number of the specific claims in Fox’s movie, including fracking’s potentially dangerous impacts on drinking water. Fox has directed a follow-up documentary, which premiered at New York City’s Tribeca Film Festival in April.

Fracking proponents say films like Gasland perpetuate misinformation about the process and inhibit economic growth. Jackson, who spoke at the Kalispell screening, said fracking is crucial to the nation’s and state’s energy future.

“Our energy independence is dependent on this particular method of extracting oil,” Jackson said.
On 05-29-13, mooseberryinn commented....
Now, just what do you have against “hysteria”???  We need more hysteria in this carnival of climate change.  I mean there wouldn’t be any headlines if we didn’t have wackos screaming about the world ending.  Actually, I’m waiting for the “warming” part to happen, …
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