Slate Rehashes Fallacious 'Flaming Faucet' Fixation

July 24th, 2013 1:20 PM

Yesterday, Slate promoted to their front page a July 19 article promising a look at “what fracking really looks like.”  David Rosenberg's piece about the photos taken by New York-based documentary photographer Nina Berman seems to rehash the frivolous narrative that fracking will turn your bathroom into the devil's water closet, complete with fountains of flame! 

Liberals – and their allies on the environmental left – must’ve missed the EPA report showing that fracking doesn’t pollute surrounding groundwater.  But why go with facts when fiction is so much more melodramatic, particularly with the new release of Josh Fox’s latest anti-fracking documentary Gasland Part II.

Rosenberg wrote that:

[Nina] Berman resides in New York and knew very little about how the controversial process of drilling for natural gas via hydraulic fracturing worked and decided to head to Pennsylvania for Gov. Thomas Corbett’s inauguration in 2011.

“I knew there would be demonstrators (opposed to his support of natural gas drilling), and I wanted to learn what they were screaming about,” Berman said. After researching the issues, she then had to figure out how to document them in a visual way.

“It’s a very hard subject to photograph,” Berman explained. “You see a drill, and you don’t know what that means, and then it disappears. What does that mean? It took me a while to figure out how to approach it.”

To do that, she spent time in part of Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale region, a hotbed of fracking controversy, producing a series titled “Fractured: The Shale Play.” Berman began calling activists, hoping to get a sense of the communities and knowing the people who feel they have been violated are those “interested in having their story told.”


Let's back up a bit. Dimock, Pa., was the epicenter for the left's fracking-pollutes-groundwater meme. But those claims were analyzed by the EPA.  The federal agency reported in 2012 that the surrounding drinking water was safe to drink, despite left-wing efforts to prove otherwise.  But what about the flaming faucets of hellfire?!  Well, as former NewsBusters Lachlan Markay aptly noted in the Washington Free Beacon on July 9:

Fox’s new film, Gasland Part II, features a powerful scene showing a Texas landowner lighting the contents of a garden hose on fire. The incident is presented as evidence of water contamination from a nearby hydraulic fracturing operation.

According to a Texas court, the scene was actually a hoax devised by a Texas environmental activist engaged in a prolonged battle with a local gas company to falsely inflate the supposed dangers of the oil and gas extraction technique, also known as fracking.

It was later discovered that the landowner attached his hose to a gas vent to provide the stunning visual effect.  Markay also did a follow-up post on July 10 detailing the three whoppers environmentalists push about fracking.  Sadly, it seems the Washington Post- affiliated Slate is only happy to give Fox and his cronies a hand, while disregarding the facts.