Patriots group host screening on fracking

Approximately 40 people Saturday watched a screening of “FrackNation,” a movie aimed at investigating documented problems with fracking, a way to extract natural gas from shale rock.

The Auglaize County Patriots hosted a screening of “FrackNation” at the Wapa Theatre to provide information on the fracking process, which is being used in northeast Ohio to extract natural gas.

In 2008, Josh Fox, of Pennsylvania, received a letter from a drilling company offering to lease his family’s land to use the fracking method,  process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas  to harvest natural gas.

Fox released a documentary in 2010 titled “Gasland,” exposing problems to residents and the environment using the fracking method.

Freelance journalist Phelim McAleer decided to investigate Fox’s claims, and as a result of his investigation he released “FrackNation,” in which he details his investigation and what he called inaccuracies in Fox’s claims.

Experts in the drilling industry have claimed tracking as a destructive practice, while other experts have hailed tracking as an answer for domestic energy needs in America and many European nations.

Many people in attendance Saturday had seen “Gasland” or heard comments about fracking and said they had attended to hear the other side.

“I wanted to hear the other point of view,” Waynesfield resident Ron Rigby said.

He said he attended the movie already being against the practice of fracking, but he now had a more open mind about it.

Rigby, who claimed the movie seemed “fairly accurate,” said while he didn’t feel the film went as far to convince him the other way, he was much more open to considering the claims in the movie.

Dwain Wolford, who lives in Allen County, said he came to see the movie to hear the other side of the argument.

“The explanation of the procedure in the film was pretty much as I had understood it,” Wolford said. “The argument seems much more logical. The dangers caused by fracking seem to have been blown out of proportion.”

Steve Berst, of New Bremen, said he was interested in the issue and jumped at the chance when he heard about the free screening.

“I had heard the reports and did my own research on this matter before watching the film,” Berst said. “It is an important topic, especially with economic and energy crises we face. I think both sides like to elevate their side of the argument to an emotional level. I think the film overall just reinforced what I had already believed.”

Approximately 60 Patriot groups throughout Ohio hosted viewings of the documentary at various locations.

The Ohio Liberty Coalition contacted McAleer, and he made the DVDs for the screening available. Approximately 20 copies of the documentary were distributed or sold for show at home.