The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

January 5, 2013

Matt Damon's "Promised Land" clashes with pro-fracking ad

(Continued)

Knapp, who helped organize the Facebook group, said he has been a land man, just like Damon's character, but he is from the area and not an out-of-state interloper. "One of the things that really aggravates me is that they seem to have a very condescending view" by portraying some local farmers as greedy or unsophisticated, he said. "It's a movie, and everybody is going to get crazy about it."

Fracking and horizontal drilling has opened up deep rock formations in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Colorado to drilling and production, boosting local economies and spurring manufacturing growth because of lower gas prices.

Critics of fracking, in which millions of gallons of water are mixed with sand and chemicals to blast apart underground rock formations and free trapped gas, praised the film as an important representation of the conflicts now tearing through many rural communities.

"It's a very good way to introduce fracking to all of America, because it will not be too much, too soon," Rebecca Roter, who lives in northeastern Pennsylvania and is fighting local drilling and pipeline construction, said in an interview. "It captures the costs of this industry."

The film shows the gas industry manipulating those who hold power in the fictional town, which is frequently the case in real life, said Chris Csikszentmihalyi, who started the Landman Report Card website. The site lets residents rate and comment on the person who negotiated their lease for the rights to underground natural gas.

"Industry has the ability to do whatever it wants in these rural communities," he said.

Krasinski and Damon wrote "Promised Land" together. In fact sheets provided by the studio they have said they weren't writing an anti-fracking film; in fact, it began as a story about wind power.

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