In May 2008, Josh Fox received a letter from a natural gas company offering to lease his family’s land in Milanville, Pennsylvania for $100,000 to drill for gas. After receiving the lease offer, Fox looked for more information about drilling for natural gas. He visited Dimock, Pennsylvania where drilling for natural gas was already underway. Fox met with some of the families who are stunningly able to set a light the water running for their tap. The families also express their concerns about potential health issues as they fear their water has been contaminated.
In the documentary, Fox sets out to see how communities are being affected in the west where a natural gas drilling boom has been underway for the last decade. Spending time with people in their homes, the families tell their stories of how drilling for natural gas on their land has affected their lives.
We hear from the people who have experienced a variety of chronic health problems as well as contamination of their air, water wells or surface water. Some of the people have even gone as far as obtaining court junctions or cash settlements from the gas companies to the replace the affected water supplies with drinking water or water purification kits.
Gasland reaches out to scientists, politicians and gas industry executives and ultimately where Fox finds himself in the halls of Congress as a subcommittee was discussing the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act, “a bill to amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to repeal a certain exemption for hydraulic fracturing.” Hydraulic fracturing was exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.