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Natural Gas Industry counters Gasland with their “film” Truthland

October 29, 2012

One of the educational tools that have moved thousands to take action against the escalating use of hydraulic fracturing across the US is the documentary film Gasland.

Not surprising, the natural gas industry would feel threatened by the power of information that challenges their interests. The natural gas industry has made all kinds of disparaging comments about Gasland and its director, but the making of their counter-film might be the most blatant form of propaganda they have created to date.

The film Truthland is a campy sort of film that centers around a mother who lives in Pennsylvania and she claims to drive across the country in an attempt to dismiss the claims made in Gasland.

However, what fracking apologists don’t acknowledge is that Truthland is a film that was made by the group Energy Indepth, which is a project of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA). The IPAA has been around for roughly 75 years and is one of the major oil associations, when it comes to lobbying. You can follow the millions of dollars this group has spent lobbying Congress by looking at the well-researched and interactive information at Oil Change International.

In addition, Truthland has been used as a tool of the natural gas industry to counter Gasland, particularly in rural areas, where residents are being approached by the oil & gas industry. Often the film is shown at “public forums” without people knowing that this is an industry created piece of propaganda.

However, grassroots groups are also exposing the film as a fraud. In one example, the blog Marcellus-Shale.us has posted great information about Truthland. The site even states that the film website was registered by the Energy giant Chesapeake Energy Corp.

In addition, it was discovered by several other groups that the film Truthland was part of a larger PR campaign, which even included Astroturf groups posing as pro-fracking protestors.

The blog that uncovered this PR campaign also states:

After first appearing on YouTube in the first week of June, Truthland was quickly withdrawn from the website when it began to pick up hits, alarming supportive viewers. On a natural gas-leasing web forum, a member claiming to represent the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York wrote that the film’s unveiling was the responsibility of “Susan Oliver a ‘communications consultant’ who lives in DC but has acreage in Bainbridge [in Chenango County, NY].” Like many professionals working for the natural gas industry, Oliver tries to keep her work in the PR industry (“Persuasive media relations pro intensely committed to victory”) hidden when it’s more useful to appear to be simply a “NY Marcellus Shale landowner”

The film can be viewed online and is worth watching, so people who understand the seriousness of fracking can respond to the absurdity of its claims.

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