In 2010, the documentary film "Gasland" exploded onto the public consciousness, exposing many people to the next wave of energy extraction: fracking. The practice was taking place across swaths of the United States overlying shale rock formations, as companies had found a new way to access the natural gas and oil below, blasting millions of gallons of water and hundreds of gallons of chemicals to break up the rock and allow the fuels to reach the surface.
The industry assured property owners and city governments that the practice was controllable and safe. Yet "Gasland" showed many communities transformed into industrial zones, their water leaching explosive methane.
Since then, the practice has only increased, reaching more states and countries. Many of the environmental and health risks raised in the film around water contamination, however, remain unaddressed. Instead, some companies launched attacks against "Gasland," accusing it of promoting false and misleading information.
These attacks have been part of a broader argument over whether fracking and drilling have led to cases of water contamination, with many companies still adamant that no such evidence exists, despite Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data showing contamination in West Virginia, Wyoming and Texas.