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Jan 082013
 

From Green Right Now Reports

Promised Land, the fictional movie starring Matt Damon that’s been opening in theaters this month, is sure to raise more discussion about the merits and risks of hydraulic fracturing, the controversial method of extracting natural gas from rock deposits deep underground.

But did you know there’s also a new documentary about the potential dangers of fracking? Dear Governor Cuomo chronicles the opposition in New York to fracking, where many believe that a full-bore exploration of gas via fracking the Marcellus Shale could well destroy the watershed that’s produced some of the purest drinking water in the U.S..

That water’s been more or less taken for granted by the millions who benefit, including residents downstate in New York City. But the anti-fracking forces are trying to shake up more awareness because they see fracking as a major threat to water and land.

Fracking for natural gas involves injecting millions of gallons of water laced with dozens of chemicals into each well. The high-pressure cocktail is used to blast open shale-encased natural gas, releasing methane and often radioactive compounds from several thousand feet beneath the surface. Opponents see a percolating danger to water tables should the chemicals migrate back up via rock fissures created by the process. They’re also concerned that contaminated fracking waste water, which must be disposed of or stored, will leach into the ground and infiltrate water sources.

There’s more. Some of the toxic chemicals used in fracking are carcinogens, like benzene. Furthermore, a handful of fracking operations already have contaminated water, notably in Dimock, Penn., and in Pavilion, Wyo., which is why you’ll see actor Mark Ruffalo waving a jug of murky water around in this film. It’s likely from the debacle in Dimock, which triggered his ongoing involvement in this issue.

Dear Governor Cuomo features celebrities such as Ruffalo and actress Melissa Leo; musicians such as Natalie Merchant and others, as well as regular folks who’re fighting fracking in New York. Its jumping off point is a protest in May 2012 in which activists and concerned celebrities gathered in Albany to try to persuade Gov. Cuomo to not lift the current ban on natural gas fracking.

The film, written and directed by Jon Bowermaster with filming advice from Academy Award-winning documentarian Alex Gibney, debuted at the Woodstock Film Festival in October and is being screened at libraries and universities across the state.