You've probably heard about "Gasland," the anti-gas documentary that has made national headlines. It's less likely you've heard of "Truthland," a production of former science teacher and Susquehanna County farmer Shelly Depue that is a response to "Gasland."
Depue spoke to experts around the country as her part in a project of the Independent Petroleum Association of American and Energy in Depth. She is showing the film across Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York, including the Community Arts Center this past week, where a panel discussion followed.
Those on the panel made points that are worth repeating for the sake of clarification, since emotions and viewpoints have a way of misrepresenting groups and industries:
Just because gas industry businesses are migrating to the region doesn't mean they can't be local in spirit as they establish their own hiring practices.
Industry investments create resources and economy while also increasing the area wage scale.
Presence of the industry and related businesses stabilizes the employment rate, girding the area from economic slumps occurring elsewhere.
While the marriage of natural gas drilling and water supplies is tricky, the presence of the industry has resulted in water testing not previously done.
While wind and solar power are excellent energy alternatives, they can't be developed as easily and therefore aren't as accessible or affordable.
For our part, we have supported in this space various energy sources that will wean the country off dependence on foreign oil, wind and solar energy development included. Natural gas development just appears to be the source with the most potential for augmenting the nation's energy needs effectively.
Is the industry without flaws? By no means. But can these flaws, when managed correctly, be overcome? Yes.
We are aware there are those people who will never accept those tenets regarding the natural gas industry. That is their right. But it is the right of others to attempt to tell a practical story about how the industry really works and that is what the "Truthland" project presentation was about.