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Documentary on dangers of gas drilling to be featured Monday

September 22, 2013
By LARRY SHIELDS , Salem News

SALEM - "Triple Divide," a 90-minute documentary depicting the experiences of Pennsylvania landowners with the oil and gas industry, will be shown at 6 p.m. Monday in the Memorial Building gym, 785 E. State St.

The movie is hosted by the Ohio Organizing Collaborative (www.ohorganizing.org) and was produced by investigative journalists Joshua Pribanic and Melissa Troutman of PublicHerald.org, a nonprofit company.

The film is being screened internationally.

Tribanic, from Sandusky, has covered Brownfield lands and Superfund sites in north central Ohio while Troutman, from Couderport, Pa., has covered the natural gas industry in north central Pennsylvania.

The film title is taken from Potter County, Pa. which is home to a geological phenomenon called the Triple Divide, according to Pribanic, and is one of five widely-recognized in the United States where water drains into three different basins.

Pribanic said the headwaters of this Triple Divide are ecological sanctuaries for all things living deep in Appalachia, and provide drinking water for millions of people downstream.

Potter County is a focus for the film which the two produced, directed and edited.

It also focuses on state documents regarding how the state and oil and gas industry handle problems and their impact.

For example, Pribanic cited the April 2011 Bradford County, Pa. blowout that earned Chesapeake Energy $250,000 in fines and reimbursements, the highest amount possible, from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

He said that was the worst case so far and the film studied the conclusions the state and the company reached afterward.

Chesapeake dismissed the pre-drilling tests, saying the weren't conducted properly, Pribanic said.

The OOC said, "The film reveals how water contamination is being covered up by the industry and the state (Pa.), essentially rewriting the history of water quality in Pennsylvania by dismissing predrill tests.

"Meanwhile, state regulators are using compliance as a means of regulating without enforcing the law, abandoning the public in the wake of shale gas development," the OOC said.

Caitlin Johnson, organizer for the OOC, said that "Triple Divide" attempts to answer the question, "How are state regulations and industry handling impacts from fracking?"

In a prepared release, the OOC said actor Mark Ruffalo co-narrates an 18-month cradle-to-grave investigation by Public Herald, an investigative news non-profit organization co-founded by journalists Joshua Pribanic and Melissa Troutman.

"The movie includes never before seen interviews with industry giants and advocates, exclusive reports with impacted landowners, uncovered state documents, and expert testimonies," the OOC said.

Pribanic said, "People should prepare to see things they've never seen before. We did our best to do a cradle-to-grave investigation on how the impacts are being handled and what it means for homeowners and communities."

Pribanic added, "These are faces of experts that haven't been seen shown before."

The documentary was filmed mostly in north central Pa., from 2011 to 2013 and Pribanic and Troutman will answer questions following the film.

David Celebrezze, an expert on Ohio rules and regulations from the Ohio Environmental Council, will also attend.

Donations are not mandatory and the suggested donation is $5 to defray travel expenses for the producers.

"Not a big deal if people can't give," Johnson said.

DVDs of the movie will be available for purchase at $20 per copy and a $5 donation can be placed toward that cost, Pribanic said.

The film can also be rented at tripledividefilm.org.

lshields@salemnews.net

 
 

 

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