In the documentary Gasland–nominated for an Oscar this weekend–director Josh Fox takes on the oil and gas industry and shows the impact of hydraulic fracturing–or fracking–with frightening clarity.
The documentary Gasland has been nominated for an Oscar this weekend and has also drawn a fair share of controversy for angering the oil and gas industry representatives whom it criticizes. In fact, director Josh Fox contends that and oil and gas industry front group sent a letter to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences saying that the film should be ineligible for best documentary feature.

What’s bothering them is Gasland’s frightening portrayal of the after-effects of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”—natural gas drilling that requires pumping water mixed with chemicals into deep rock formations to open up fractures that allow companies to access rich stores of natural gas. The process creates a ton of contaminated wastewater, and threatens the drinking water supplies of millions. In Pennsylvania, people can literally light their tap water on fire.

In a response to the oil and gas industry letter, the filmmaker writes this: “Big Gas is blocking the truth in their pursuit of hundreds of billions of dollars of profit. Their clear goal is to ensure our nation remains addicted to fossil fuels for the rest of this century. They seek to stifle the development of truly renewable energy.”