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« Another Beddington inquiry | Main | Goot paper on consensus »

The truth will out

Phelim McAleer has an interesting post about the movie Gasland, in which residents of a US town are famously shown igniting their tap water.  The insinuation is that this is something to do with fracking activitiy in the shales thousands of feet below the ground.

It turns out, however, that methane in tap water in the vicinity has been recorded for decades and what is more, Gasland director Josh Fox knew it - he just decided that it wasn't "relevant"!

The production company seems to have persuaded YouTube to pull McAleer's evidence, at least for the meantime. I don't suppose it will remain like that for long though.





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Reader Comments (29)

Tell YouTube that they were not quick enough. I saw the interview and Fox did say that it was not relevant.

Just like climate change happening naturally in the past - it is not relevant for AGW purposes.

Jun 4, 2011 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterGraphic Conception

These people will do whatever it takes to "win" -- ends not means.

Jun 4, 2011 at 2:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

Video seems to be here.

Jun 4, 2011 at 2:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

The News Quiz on BBC Radio 4 dealt with renewable energy this week with merry quips from Jeremy Hardy about the [implied] idiots who think the earthquake in Blackpool was a mere nothing [as indeed it was, at 1.5 on the scale] and also a reference from Sandy Tostvig to methane in the water supply caused by fracking, which she said had resulted in the tap water being ignited. Not a smidgin of doubt there....

Jun 4, 2011 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Thanks Ben!

Jun 4, 2011 at 2:45 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

The irony is that an real problem with fracking will be overlooked for grand imaginary problems - dragons breathing fire will be preferable. Serving what purpose exactly?

It's like this European E.Coli scare recently, has anyone noticed that the media narrative has morphed into some hype about how unusual the strain is? Rather than where it is from and how it came about?

The least interesting information is hyped and proffered as news. How to break out of that? Discuss

Jun 4, 2011 at 2:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

There seems to be an increased presence from FortiGuard censoring Internet content that is mon consensual over the last week. Perhaps it's the way I'm accessing but it's noticeable on the number of sites that are becoming restricted.

Jun 4, 2011 at 3:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

The Leopard In The Basement:
“The least interesting information is hyped and proffered as news. How to break out of that? Discuss”

I suppose most journalists most of the time are haunted by the thought: “I don’t know what I’m talking about. Does anyone else?” So they spend much of their time looking over each others’ shoulders, which is why they seem to swoop around randomly like flocks of starlings. (someone on the recent German thread gave us the useful word “schwärmerei” for this swarming tendency).
Flocks need shepherds, which is why we have PR men, the IPCC, etc.

Jun 4, 2011 at 3:14 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Having not followed this controversy much before - the info in this video makes perfect sense:

the aquifer is depleting (lower pressure) and therefore more gas is being produced through their well.

Just happened to be depleted down recently - coinciding with the pickup of shale gas production.

Jun 4, 2011 at 3:14 PM | Unregistered Commenterhans rast


So journalists are a bunch of flockers? Mmm...;)

Jun 4, 2011 at 3:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

I find it more and more astonishing that people like Fox think they can get away with it and that we should all go away and be quiet!

Yesterday was a cracker with what appeared to be a professional troll defending Mann's H.S. over at WUWT. Even when S.M. appeared and pointed out to him the failings in his argument he just kept plugging away! Pure fantasy and fun to watch the guy destroyed by calm reason!

As usual, good work from Phelim and at least he did not have Gores Gorillas set on him.

Jun 4, 2011 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterPete H

More ironically the director has asked YouTube to remove the video, but most of the entries for Gasland Director on youtube are videos of said director alleging the oil and gas industry is trying to silence him.

Jun 4, 2011 at 3:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris

So, our Director agrees that there are reports of methane in the water supply, from 1976 & 1936, but "They're not relevant"!

Jun 4, 2011 at 3:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdam Gallon

A lying partisan hack making a lying partisan movie like Gasland is not novel. But it is always dismaying to see the predictability of extremists in manipulating people by falsehoods and misdirection get outed.

Jun 4, 2011 at 4:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

I haven't seen the film (nor do I want to)

The COGCC concluded that a well belonging to Weld County landowner Aimee Ellsworth, also featured in the film, contained thermogenic methane that was attributable to oil and gas activity in the area. The report states that Mrs. Ellsworth and an operator in the area had reached a settlement in that case.[9]"

Is the whole film based on one case of proven contamination, and some sexed up natural contamination, is that it?

"Hydraulic fracturing was exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.[4]"

Still, I wouldn't want fracking exempt from safe drinking water regulations regardless of contamination history.

Jun 4, 2011 at 5:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

Fox's argument appears to be that BF (before fracking) methane molecules were good and AF were bad. Why? Because they were due to human actions: biogenic rather than thermogenic. Me & google can make no sense of this claim - perhaps there is none? The old anthropomorphic fingerprint thing again.

Jun 4, 2011 at 5:07 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

The BBC last week of course included a clip of burning gas coming from a domestic water tap in a news story about shale gas - and that was before it brought on the UK head of WWF as its "expert" to explain how shale gas was "worse than coal".

Not much doubt where BBC balance stands on this issue eh?

Jun 4, 2011 at 5:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave W

This article purports to prove the connection- but note the paragraph which reads " the team performed an isotopic analysis on the methane in order to distinguish between biogenic methane, produced by microbial decay, and thermogenic methane, which occurs in the deeper hydrocarbon layers targeted by drilling operations. The test confirmed that it is the type of methane extracted during natural gas drilling."

I thought the vimeo clip showed Fox claiming it was biogenic.

See also :
"However, the scientist could not rule out wide-ranging, underground migration of the gas …due to the extensive fracture systems reported for these formations and the many older, uncased wells drilled and abandoned.”

And this from another article:

Jun 4, 2011 at 5:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Here is a good summary of how the natural gas source can be identified. However, even if deep thermogenic sourced gas is found in an aquifer it can easily have migrated there naturally- there are literally 10's of thousands of natural gas seeps around the world and some of them are bound to contaminate aquifers...

Jun 4, 2011 at 5:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Cooper

Someone over at coined the term 'Black Knight' for posters that are unable to recognise when they have completely lost the argument. It is based on the Monty Python and the Holy Grail scene where the Black Knight loses both arms and legs in a fight and still won't admit that he lost.

Jun 4, 2011 at 5:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterStonyground

Poor sound but I get this;

"Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission ruled the gas biogenic rather than thermogenic...types of gas....and Gasland was incorrect because we had misstated the facts that this biogenic gas was naturally occurring so that Mike Markham could light their water before the fracking but there was drilling going on in that area for 4 or 5 years and the report was that same year."

Clear as mud.

Jun 4, 2011 at 6:55 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

This should clear things up.......

Jun 4, 2011 at 7:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterABMC

Laugh out loud quote of the week from Ben Goldacre:

"First, transparency: science isn't about authoritative utterances from men in white coats, it's about showing your working. "

Of course he wasn't talking about AGW and wouldn't dream of applying this sentence to climate "scientists".

Jun 4, 2011 at 8:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterartwest

If Al Gore can make millions of dollars by scaring people about natural phenomena, why can't this scam artist atempt to do the same?

Ignoring a few inconvenient truths, is the way to go!

Jun 4, 2011 at 9:43 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

Gives a whole new meaning to 'tapping new sources of energy'.

Jun 5, 2011 at 12:33 AM | Unregistered Commentergyptis444

A little Sunday morning lightheartedness to lift the gloom of the fracking liars?

Jun 5, 2011 at 5:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterPete H

Everyone is missing the point here. It’s obvious that Big Oil and the water companies have colluded to remove methane from water to stop us using it as fuel.

Jun 5, 2011 at 6:01 AM | Unregistered Commenterglyn

"worse than coal"

It is, at least for the Greens, for whom the appearance of a new energy stream and the postponement of 'peak oil' is the worst news possible!

Jun 5, 2011 at 6:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Of course the eco loons will try to strangle fracking at birth. No doubt with the help of the usual vested interests - and, of course, the unspeakable BBC.

But even if they fail, how long before the expression 'peak-fracking' enters the arena.

About six months I'd say!

Jun 6, 2011 at 11:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterDougS

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