A Free-Market Energy Blog

"Truthland:" Response to Factually Challenged "Gasland"

By Steve Everley -- June 14, 2012

The development of enormous reserves of American energy from tight formations such as shale has been hailed as a “game-changer” by the Energy Information Administration; as playing a “key role in our nation’s clean energy future” by the Environmental Protection Agency; and as a means of helping our country “create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper” by President Obama earlier this year.

But for one mom in rural northeast Pennsylvania, the only real question that mattered was this: Is the process used to develop these resources safe? Or is it the way “Gasland” star Josh Fox tried to portray it in his HBO film: dangerous and disruptive – and completely unregulated, to boot? Shelly – a mother, grandmother, farmer and science teacher from Susquehanna Co., Pa. – needed answers, for herself, her family and her community.

And so she went looking for some. Her journey in search of the truth is captured and chronicled in “Truthland,” which officially goes live today.

“When we were told we could have natural gas under our farm, we felt very blessed,” said Shelly, who, as part of the film, interviewed more than a dozen energy and environmental experts in six states.

But that excitement was tempered somewhat by the negative stories we had heard about hydraulic fracturing. Then came ‘Gasland,’ and that made it even tougher to determine what the truth really was. Well, the science teacher in me had questions, and I owed it to my family to go and find out what was real. To get our questions answered, I knew I needed to go where the experts were. And so, that’s exactly what I did.

“Obviously, this isn’t the first time something has been released that sets the record straight on the mountain of misinformation in ‘Gasland,’” said Jeff Eshelman, vice president of public affairs for Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and executive vice president of Energy In Depth (EID). “But it is the first time that these facts have been transmitted in such vivid detail, through such a compelling medium, as part of a story told by someone as genuine and inspirational as Shelly – someone whose stake in responsible development, and in protecting air, water and the environment, is both very serious and deeply personal.”

A first-of-its-kind project of IPAA and EID, the costs associated with the production of the 34-minute film were underwritten by industry – but none of the experts who appear in the movie (Shelly included) were paid a dime for their time or participation. The only thing they were asked to do was tell the truth: as best they knew it, and however they saw it. Those interviews comprise the main body of “Truthland” — extended, unedited interviews of the experts are available on the “extras” page of TruthlandMovie.com.

Along with the official launch of the movie this week, the first official screening of the film is set to take place this Saturday, June 16, in Columbus, Ohio, as part of a larger event co-hosted by the Ohio Oil and Gas Association and a number of other supporting organizations. Shelly herself is slated to make an appearance too. A 35-stop “Truthland” screening tour, stretching across more than a dozen states, will commence from there. For information on dates and venues, please check out the “screenings” page at TruthlandMovie.com.



  1. Jonathan  

    I love to read this site. I am a full-fledged free market thinker. The articles make intelligent and reasoned reading and can be used as fact to rebut the statist view of energy policy. Sometimes, however, it is just plain fun to read someone that uses sarcasm to make their point. Such is the case with this article from the Daily Telegraph. It will cause a smile.


  2. Chip Northrup  

    Truthland is an infomercial made by a political attack ad agency
    Produced by a gas industry front group
    Paid for by Chesapeake Energy. More truthy than true.


  3. Ray Smith  

    I did not waste my time to review the movie “Gasland” after hearing about its comments, prior to release. Thank God and the people who put together “Truthland”. I will have the opportunity to review Truthland in Scranton Pa., at an event that ‘ener Energy Citizens is having next week. I hope you can get Truthland on Fox soon?

    Sincerely, Ray Smith , active member in Energy Citizens and I am proud of it!


  4. Samuel Haynes  

    There Chip Northrup goes again. Always quick to attack…never willing to address the facts. The issue is not who financed Truthland (just as the issue is not who financed Gasland, but whether or not it is accurate.


  5. Samuel Haynes  

    Chip Northrup apparently didn’t have a very successful meeting in Polteney, NY…what a story


  6. Samuel Haynes  

    Chip Northrup had an interesting meeting in Polteney, NY


  7. DC Andrews  

    Actually the issue is who financed “truthland” and also who is distributing it. It’s backed by the natural gas industry. So the “findings” of course say it’s totally fine. Sorry but “Truthland” is NOT a factual infomercial. I have seen what fracking does first hand. I didn’t need a movie to tell me there is a problem. Anyone around these zones already know whats going on. Keep your propaganda


  8. Paul Heckbert  

    Here’s a good review of Truthland:


    truthlandmovie.com web site was created by Chesapeake Energy;
    movie was planned and funded by the gas industry
    and the astroturf organization Energy in Depth;
    it was produced by an admaker who has worked for George W Bush and John McCain;
    the “mom” who stars in “Truthland” owns a well that was found to have a defective casing…


  9. Tony  

    The “truth” is people are cashing in on the fracking boom and they couldn’t care less about the environmental, long term consequences. Truthland’s ranting on, ad nausem, about lighting the water spigots, just rebutted one single point made in the Gasland movie……..”Truthland” mainly illustrates how truth goes out the window, when lots of money is involved. The Turthland woman’s narrative, down home, laconic style in the movie,was not only irritating but just illustrates how people can lie with a straight face, while lining their pockets with “dirty” money.


    • rbradley  


      I think that we have to define property rights and have good working tort law to redress damanges in specific drilling cases. The wider good goes to more supply and lower prices–and this case some substitution of gas for coal to generate electricity. But the ‘wider good’ should not come from tangible property damage. But if you be;lieve in less energy and forced energy conservation from higher prices, then emotional NIMBYISM is a means to this end.


  10. Entertainment Meets Energy: Yoko's Magical Mystery Frac Tour - Master Resource  

    […] dangers of natural gas development. They were accompanied by Susan Sarandon, Josh Fox (producer of Gasland) and Ghandi’s grandson, not to mention a bevy of local anti-development […]


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