By Steve Klingaman
AUGUST 18, 2011 8:33AM
The documentary "Gasland" clearly identified the imminent environmental disaster we face, but there are no laws to address the issue thanks to...Dick Cheney!
The second most amazing thing about Josh Fox's 2010 documentary " Gasland " is that it got made at all. The approach can only be described as amateur-verit/i> . The financing, the everything, really--DIY. He deserves a world of kudos for this triumph of beginner's mind; of one individual's dawning awareness of a seemingly amorphous problem transformed into a kitchen sink triumph.
Fox understands story. Taking the tactic of "who do you believe: them or your lying eyes?" to its logical extreme, he presented his views with the simple truth of burning tap water and touched a nation.
Fox, a grassroots theater director with no formal documentary film experience prior to to "Gasland," has screened the film extensively for the nation's environmental community. In an interview this week with the Baltimore City Paper's Angela Appleton, Fox laid out the central issue he unveiled in the film:
The EPA's been screening the film, regional EPA, federal EPA. They've been screening the film in Congress, at the Department of Justice. All of the regulators are shocked, but they also feel very disheartened in that their hands are tied, because they don't have laws to enforce. The Safe Drinking Water Act should pertain to the gas industry. They're exempt. The Clean Water Act, they're exempt. The Clean Air Act, they're exempt. The Superfund law, they're exempt. All of these basic fundamental American public-health protection laws, they have found a way to get exempt from them through orders of Congress.
I showed the film to the entire Department of Justice environmental wing at their annual retreat and they gave it a standing ovation . . . but the lawyers who enforce our environmental laws on behalf of DOJ have said time and time again, we have no laws to enforce. And that is the problem. This is going to take an act of Congress or a presidential executive order or governors' orders.