The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 27, 2014

Fracking documentary to air Feb. 8


— LEWISBURG — “Triple Divide,” a fracking documentary the Scranton Times Leader called “a bombshell that could reverberate across the state,” is screening in Lewisburg and will feature discussion with the journalists who created it, Melissa Troutman and Joshua Pribanic.

The free event takes place Feb. 8 at 2 p.m. at the Campus Theater, Market Street, Lewisburg, and is hosted by Shale Justice.

The documentary’s namesake, the triple continental divide in Potter County, Pa., is where three major waterways are born, the Allegheny and Genesee Rivers, as well as Pine Creek, which join the Susquehanna. Triple Divide investigations did find water contamination, “but that’s only the tip of the iceberg,” says Pribanic. “Our cradle-to-grave investigations broke the story on illegal waste pit burials, the ‘pre-drill test scandal,’ along with reports on injection wells, split-estates, the ‘pressure bulb,’ and more.”

Reviews of “Triple Divide” call it the only documentary on the controversial subject of fracking capable of speaking to all sides. “Even if you have differences, you have to find common ground to speak about this,” said a Pennsylvania organic dairy farmer in the film.

Academy Award nominated actor Mark Ruffalo co-narrates the documentary, adding his voice to the project after being shown an online screener just a few weeks before the final release. Ruffalo’s nonprofit Water Defense also investigates water testing and protection measures.

Though hard-hitting, “Triple Divide” is also seen as fair. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is highlighted in the film for weakly enforced regulations, but “Scott Perry, head of oil and gas at DEP,” said Troutman, “told me he’s seen the film and it’s very well done. This attests to its journalistic integrity and ability to bring concrete evidence from Pennsylvania to everyone willing to sit at the table.”

The investigations also cover impacts to the most highly classified “Exceptional Value” streams in Pennsylvania, most of which emanate from the triple continental divide in Potter County, where Troutman grew up on an adjacent hill. Pribanic is an Ohio native, who says the film is an educational opportunity for all communities. “Even the most seasoned fracking vet will witness new concepts.”

The film is scheduled to screen in 12 locations across New York: Wellsville, Albany, Alfred, Elmira, Woodstock, Binghamton, Ithaca, Rochester, Syracuse with three shows in New York City. New York shares all of triple divide’s watersheds with Pennsylvania. “The ecosystem is the real border, not the stateline,” Troutman said. “I’m really excited about Feb. 27 in Ithaca with FracTracker’s Karen Edelstein, who’s mapped the triple divide watersheds.”

There will be a question and answer session immediately after the film with the filmmakers and a panel from Shale Justice.