Unearthed: The Fracking Facade

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Unearthed: The Fracking FacadeA video exposing a flawed claim often abused in the sales pitch for promoting shale gas development across the world:

"With a history of 60 years, after nearly a million wells drilled, there are no documented cases that hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has lead to the contamination of groundwater."

Brought to you by the team behind the upcoming South African feature documentary, Unearthed, that is investigating natural gas development and the controversial method of extraction known as fracking from a global perspective. Should South Africa and other countries drill down?

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51 Comments / User Reviews

  1. jim dorey

    ok, the narration over top of the people in the background speaking... louder than the narration... makes it unwatchable. i'm sure otherwise it's a great film.

  2. Don Kania

    Bad Audio? Too much background narrations that overlap making it hard to understand. Annoying!

  3. Vlatko

    @Don Kania,

    I think only in the first 2 minutes the audio is overlapping.

  4. Itolduso

    Nice short doc. and to the point.
    The beginning is analogy showing how the gas companies drown out the voices of their "victims".

  5. Sieben Stern

    heh, fracking will be the death of us. that and tar sands. we threaten the thing we need most - fresh water - and we're asking for it.

  6. br

    I'm a masters student in the BEST ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE PROGRAM IN THE USA (IU's SPEA). There is NO REASON WHATSOEVER to be concerned with hydraulic fracking. Get educated and do the science for yourself before automatically becoming a Luddite.

  7. Earthwinger

    Is that where you learned that the best way to prove a point is by shouting? :D

    Seriously though, perhaps then you could explain to me, how the fracking process can be so violent as to trigger earthquakes that can be felt 30 miles away, and yet not damage the drill casings in any way, or drive any toxins into unintended areas.

    I'm sorry but when they disturb the ground to that extent, (which is what happened where I live), then I have serious doubts that their assurances really count for much.

  8. chris holland

    Some of the most unintelligent people I know have college degrees. So,"br",your comment holds no merit with me. Also I have been a laboratory technician for about 15 years and have first hand experience of what fracking can do to the environment. I have been involved with pre-fracking baseline water sampling and analysis, and post-fracking water analysis. In many cases the water became so contaminated it was deemed unusable and hazardous to humans and wildlife.

  9. Malchik

    Oh? And why don't you use your expensive college education to educate us Luddites?

  10. Renee Amber Mellor

    Yes, yes, explain it to us, oh great and mighty Oz. Us poor uneducated people just don't understand all the newfangled science.
    Really though, I don't understand why we keep pumping more and more money into finding oil and natural gas, instead of researching and perfecting truly renewable energy sources. How about we spend some of that money making PV cells smaller, lighter, and cheaper.

  11. CapnCanard

    Perhaps we need to stop using all oil and gas. I believe it is possible but it doesn't make any money for the oil and gas companys... so it won't be done. There are several way to by pass oil and gas: one way is Thorium nuclear reactors. Thorium has an extremely short half live so there is very little to no radioactivity of nuclear "waste". There is also the idea posited by a former nuclear physicist from MIT by the name of Bruce DePalma. He created something he called an "N" machine to generate electricity in collaboration with Professor Terwari Paramnahansa of Benares Engineering College in India. The machine had shown over unity in excess of 213%(conventional wisdom says that 100.1 % is impossible, and yet researchers from two Universitys 4000 miles apart duplicated the results). But DePalma's efforts were cut short once the information challenged the conventional wisdom. There is also Purdue University Electrical Engineering Professor Jerry Woodall and the accident he stumbled upon in graduate school 40 years ago: an alloy of 80 % Aluminum and 20 % Gallium will oxidize in water. Any water. This means that 2 Hydrogen atoms are freely available, thus Hydrogen in a stored and easily transported in state to use as needed like a battery but the "battery" could be scrubbed clean of the oxidation to make the "battery" usable again and again and again. Just my thoughts... or you could trust the oil and gas industry, and they will tell you how trustworthy they are. Just something to chew on...

  12. jose stucco

    I work for the cigarette company and we are telling you cigarettes have no effects on your health whatsoever. Here listen to what these doctors we paid off have to say abou tit.....

  13. Chrosmata

    The funny thing is you guys think it might be possible to stop this new gas. Conventional oil peaked in 2006. Unconventionals and their development are maintaining the gap between the lessening easy oil, and increasing demand for oil. We'll be ravenous for our fix, but sooner than later unconventionals will pace the gap of demand. Welcome to the centruty of suck.

  14. SeedyShaman

    diseases like multiple sclerosis are caused by this.....thanks alot!!

  15. Robyn318

    The problem is that “EVERYONE” is lying us to. It starts with our elementary education system that drills into our heads, while we are students, through rote learning, and reinforced by testing, that the U.S. is a Democracy…this is the ‘biggest’ lie in history being perpetrated on the American people to control them.

    We are not a Democracy…we are a Republic; and there is a world of difference between the two.

    The American Pledge of Allegiance: “I pledge allegiance to the flag
    of the United States of America. And to the REPUBLIC for which is stands…”

    In a representative Democracy “…all decisions are reached by a majority vote (of at least half-plus-one).” “…The Majority’s power is absolute and unlimited; its decisions are unappealable under the legal system established to give effect to this form of government.” “In a Democracy, The Individual, and any group of Individuals composing any Minority, have no protection against the unlimited power of The Majority. It is a case of Majority-over-Man.”

    “The definition of a Republic is: a constitutionally limited government of the representative type, created by a written Constitution--adopted by the people and changeable (from its original meaning) by them only by its amendment--with its powers divided between three separate Branches: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. Here the term "the people" means, of course, the electorate.”

    Electorate means: “A body of qualified voters.”

    Electoral College means: “A body of electors chosen to elect the President and Vice President of the United States.”

    You and I are not the Electoral College. The Electoral College consists of members of the Senate and Congress that we “do” elect into office to represent us. Once elected into office they decide what is best for us as a nation; including who will be our next President. So all this hoopla about the American voters electing the next President is One Big Fat Lie being perpetrated on us, the American People, by our Government sanctioned teachers, our elected officials (including the President) and by the news services that spew this propaganda.

    Knowing this, whose interests are the Presidential candidates going to represent in their efforts to be elected into office? Are they going to be most interested in representing an impotent citizenry that has turned over their voting rights to an Electoral College; or are they going to represent the interests of that Electoral College that has the power to elect them in office; and who has been bought and paid for, through campaign contributions, by big oil and other corrupt corporations?

    We can fix this!! It is not by voting for the next President; this has already been decided behind closed doors via corporate lobbying. It can be fixed by becoming more involved in local political elections, those you ‘do’ elect into the Senate and Congress that will be doing the actual voting for you. If we hold our incumbent officials and wannabe candidates to their promises of representing our interests and not big oil and big banking, we can change this corrupt system. I am personally going to join a local voters reform group, make them aware of what I know about the system, listen to what they know and be part of a super-organism that will effect the needed changes. And I ask all of you to do the same; take back our political system from the grasp of corrupt Corporate America by joining a local voter reform group and make the necessary changes through the local elections; the only place we have the power to do so.

  16. wald0

    The difference between a republic and democracy is simply that one has a constitution (a republic) to protect the rights of the minority- pure democracy allows the majority to tyranize the minority, Majority rule can be just as opressive as dictatorship if you are in the minority.
    The electorate college can not just decide who becomes president, they have to cast what ever votes they have according to how the citizens of that state voted. Some states cast all votes toward whom ever gets the majority of the popular vote and some divide their votes on a percentage basis. I think there are some states were the electorate college can over ride the popular vote for different reasons, but as far as I know that has never happened.
    Even when the election came down to a decision in Florida it was made by the supreme court who said- no recount Bush wins. Now this is how the system is supposed to work, whether it really does or not is another question. Perhaps some states lie about who got the popular vote or find some way to rigg things- but the system itself was not set up to run as you describe at all, people would have never allowed it if it was.

  17. Robyn318

    Do a little research into what a representative democracy is and what a republic is!

  18. wald0

    I hold a 2 year associates degree in western civics, I have done the research. The problem we are running into is the fact that the word “republic” holds several different meanings and has been defined many different ways throughout history. You are clinging to an older definition of the word instead of the modern usage, which means a sovereign state with elected leaders whose powers are defined by a constitution which also protects the minorities civil rights. If you think I am being slippery simply look the word up in wikiPedia, it explains the different ways the word has been used throughout history and what it means today. Democracy is simply defined as- a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives. So a republic can be democratic, which ours is supposed to be. We don’t have a direct democracy no, but I never claimed we did. We have a democratic republic which has been perverted into a corporatocracy. Represenative democracy is very compatible with a republic, nothing about the two systems excludes the other. A constitution simply serves as a check and balance on the majorities will, which can easily turn violent and vindictive. It also serves as a check and balance on the powers of elected represenatives and the different branches of government. What about a republic makes you think it is incompatible with a democracy? Republics can be democratic or not, they have been both thoughout history.

  19. StevenLJones

    Br. No reason whatsoever. For me when something has to exempt from the clean water act etc etc, my suspicions are aroused. You watched the video. You must think they are all lying. Why don't you put your textbooks aside and do some research in the field. Go and talk to these people. Do it confidentially whatever. Go check out what your profs are telling you. Don't take anybody's word for it.

  20. Lorna Kennedy

    I protested against shell where I live, on the west coast of Ireland. When i saw the power of the law standing beside them I realised where all the cops had been the last few years.

  21. Nate R.

    If you find this one hard to watch but would like to get the information that is within this doc then i would suggest watching Gasland

  22. Martin Screeton

    Watch Gasland ... thats my recommendation... Gas company probably put this together.

  23. francisco sa

    As european I saw already in this site many docs about envirnomental problems in USA due to companies activities. To the american political class I ask, how can you claim be a 1st world country when you are killing your citizans not with guns but with blind greed ???!!! I always had admiration for america but I'm strating to change my mind.

  24. KsDevil

    So now we know the method the drilling companies use to deceive people and poliicians into believing their testimony. Legalized silence. Deceived people signing way their rights. What a mess.

  25. KsDevil

    Don't forget the follow up documentary - The Sky Is Pink.

  26. KsDevil

    Unless people make the financial effort on their own to set up their own energy generation, they will remain slaves to the corporate suppliers.
    Business will not help you, the government will not help you, the uninformed will not help you.
    But I guess we all still want to complain and hope enough others join us that someone else will make the change for us.

  27. KsDevil

    It the grand scheme of things, curently there are people wrking on making solar cells ligher, ceaper, and more efficient, but it's moe like a hobby compared to estabilshed hydrocarcons.
    But you must remember, in order to manufacture alternative energies, we currently have to use those hydrocarbons.
    When alternative energies are used to manufacture alternative energy generators, then we can claim success.
    But no one can rely of the powers that be to take more than a passing interest.

  28. KsDevil

    Evidence points to the failure of the casings more than the hydrauic fracturing process. The problem with corporations is, they are very cost-oriented and use liability cost analysis in their calculations of acceptible well casing failures to determine profit.
    You are attempting to narrow the discussion to only one idealized step in the fracking process as noted in this documentary. But as in all science, physical evidence speaks louder than opinion. Pre drilling and post driloling samples are approved scientific edidence. All the is left is a physical examination of the well casings to verify they failed, where they failed, and why they failed.
    As you gain winsdom, you will find labratory science is not as cut and dry as actual implenentation.
    I question the validity of your masters degree.

  29. Martin Screeton

    Yeah... thats what we've done, hand the food, water, and energy business over to the corportations so that they can kill us all here in America :) .... Hopefully between GMO and the Energy department we will lose a couple hundred million people here so that the rest of the world can live like we have all these years! :)

  30. juanluks

    Thanks Robyn, you're the man or woman, I agree 100%.

  31. drinker69

    haha. petty bickering among the populous over energy that can be tapped yourselves if you weren't such lazy, pieces of unidentifiable trash. Use your brains. There is no spoon. Oh, and go frack yourselves. -the motherfracker

  32. Juliet14

    Hi Martin
    This short film was made by an independent group of filmmakers in South Africa. Absolutely no tie to any energy company or stakeholder in the industry.

  33. S.E.T.H

    All the audio montages make listening to it difficult.

  34. magarac

    Sometimes it just has it´s advantages to live in a country without gas or oil.

  35. brianrose87

    I thoroughly agree with what your getting at (no gas=clean water, no oil= we won't invade you... err liberate you).

    However, it must be kept in mind that America's rich fossil fuel resources are a significant part of what made us a superpower. Until U.S. oil production peaked in 1970 we were the largest oil producer on Earth; for quite some time we were even the largest exporter of oil in the world. That had tremendous implications for our wealth as a nation. The United Arab Emerites, and their star city, Dubai, are also an excellent example of what resource riches can do when applied correctly. Dubai has the world's largest building, largest mall, largest indoor ski resort, largest manmade islands, etc. They are also the third richest country on Earth in terms of GDP per capita ($67,000 vs. $48,000 in the U.S.).

    It would seem that fossil fuel wealth is a double-edged sword. It can lead to great riches, or great conflict, or both!

  36. magarac

    Oil and gas bring a lot of whealth to a nation but once the resources are gone the money will be gone as well.
    And that is why the "arabs" are building all these magnificent buildings. Because the only other thing they really have is sand:)

  37. brianrose87

    I've always found it ironic that the oil rich Arab states solution to running out of oil is to build energy intensive tourist industries.

    When Middle Eastern oil production begins to decline whose going to supply the oil to allow for such extravagant tourist attractions? Last I checked airplanes run on oil... as do cars... and trains... and boats... pretty much everything except bicycles.

    Put that way our fate is pretty obvious, yet we all pretend the music will never stop.

  38. Peek

    horrible audio. watched less than 90 seconds of it.

    next time, don't over-lap audio - 3 layers?? what were you thinking?

  39. Timothy Alleman

    Yes the audio is horrid at first for the first couple of minutes ... but it clears up ... and the rest of the video is well worth being patient with the first bit of horrid audio.

  40. Slindsay54

    Fracturing is one of the most harmful events created by big oil and because we have peaked in drilling for cheap easy access oil it is now going to cost us the environment in looking for that hard to get at oil.
    Look we have the technology now to get off oil but the oil companies cannot make money at this new technology so they buy up patents and sit on them ,in the meantime we are turning our world into a cess pool of chemicals that are killing everything and polluting the air so0 that are kids suffer from respitory deceases. We must as a people come together and fight these oil barons and force our government from laying in bed with them to getting us off oil right now.

  41. Bowtunz

    No drill. It's in my backyard and you don't want it in yours. Conserve, don't use and abuse so much. We are all part of the driving force behind ENERGY. Take a step back.

  42. manfruss

    Maybe the typical "American way of Life" needs to change. It's certainly not a "way" that everyone on earth can follow, if it does we'll all need to get off the planet and look for new homes in the stars.

  43. spindoc73

    how do people organize to fight back? not just one organization or a random person here or there, but everyone who gets engaged becoming subsequently locked in.

  44. Suzan Vaughn

    I'd go Bradley Manning on them. I wish they'd come to my house.

  45. areuserious

    hmmm. large company > u. LOL!
    place all on large company

  46. areuserious

    did ANY of these ppl get a payment B4 this ground water disaster? I feel for them BUT not if they received money upfront.

  47. Jay

    Not really the point. The point is that it's still going on and they're trying to do it all over the world. It's all about the money!

  48. CGOWAddict

    I agree, problem is there are too many crooked local politicians. They also like to tell "the people" what they want to hear.

  49. Houssem El Fekih

    No one will should be imposed on another except in respect to the law the land and god. but i know what you mean.

  50. Serenity

    Lead was never used in pencils. It's always been graphite.
    Except for the lead in the paint, unfortunately.

    But you are right about everything else

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