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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Potter County Native Focuses on God's Country in New Film

Potter County Native
Focuses on God's Country in New Film

Video by Melissa Troutman & Joshua Pribanic:

Investigative journalists Melissa Troutman and Joshua Pribanic, of The Public Herald, launched a trailer this month about a documentary film called GOD’S COUNTRY: A Marcellus Shale Discovery. The film investigates natural gas development in Potter County, also called God's Country, by recording the creation of "energy sacrifice zones." The phrase refers to zones where energy is produced for the benefit of private markets while sacrificing a public interest, such as health, environment, and/or civil liberties.

The filmmakers center on Potter County because it boasts a major Triple Divide point of the North American continent. This is where freshwater aquifers release natural springs that meet surface water and feed three major water basins: the Allegheny, Genesee and Pine Creek watersheds. These watersheds provide drinking water for millions of people, and it all starts at the Triple Divide in Potter County.

So far, their investigation has revealed highly controversial, unjust, and even dangerous scenarios. Land taken without permission, water contamination, air pollution, exemptions for the gas industry from hazardous waste and other regulations, and the use of voluntary compliance in lieu of regulatory enforcement by the state. They say their most shocking reports are left untold, to be revealed in the films release — expected for March 2012.

Hotels, restaurants, and bars are doing very well. But prices are rising, making it harder for low-income families to afford housing. Individual landowners get rich, but neighbors have the added cost of additional water filtration systems and lower property values, in addition to a compromised standard of living. Already, environmental advocacy group PennFuture filed a lawsuit against gas operator Ultra Resources regarding air pollution problems in Potter County.

Together, Troutman and Pribanic look at the positive and negative impacts of the new gas drilling boom, examine the controversial methods of drilling and processing of shale gas, investigate the state and federal regulatory frameworks in place to protect public health and civil rights, talk with experts and leaders on all sides of the issue, and ask the greater question: do you know what is sacrificed for your natural gas?

The filmmakers are asking for financial support from the public and have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the $22,000 they’ll need for the last pieces of this story’s puzzle: to complete the final months of production, days and hours of post-production work, obtain archive footage to fill out the film, hire an additional editor, create marketing collateral, and move the film throughout festivals and into the international marketplace. Their Kickstarter campaign is at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/publicherald/gods-country-a-marcellus-shale-discovery-0.

Melissa Troutman was born and raised in Potter, you can find a synopsis of her experiences in a recent editorial » Future Unknown: Praying for the Health and Safety of My Family — published in publicherald.org this November.


Anonymous said...

Is this the same girl who was recently fired by the Leader Enterprise?

Anonymous said...

She was fired around the time the Leader began running full page ads from Chesapeake. Not coincidental. She may not have been unbiased in her reporting of the drilling, but at least she covered it thoroughly. And she was very literate and able to spell. What has the paper reported on recently? Very little. But the editor does a great job covering the commissioners meetings. He doesn't have to go too far for that.

Anonymous said...

Well put 10:38, I second your comments.

Anonymous said...

But she didn't fact check and each story contained portions that were unverified and simply untrue. So, really? She wasn't that thorough. Go back and read them and check the facts. That paper was, has, and probably always will continue to be a journalistic and editorial joke.

Joe Bob the Redneck said...

I agree....there is very little of interest in the Leader and they really need someone besides Larry the Cable Guy to proof-read what they are going to print...it is just terrible at times.

Anonymous said...

Her reports were all one sided! Never the whole story just her bunny lovin tree huggin side!

Anonymous said...

Melissa was liberated from the Leader Enterprise and she seems to be making the most of her liberation.


My heartfelt thanks goes to Mellisa and Josh
for their dedication and hard work surrounding these issues.

Melissa Troutman did an excellent
job while trying to cover the controversial issues related
to the gas industry.
Since her liberation
I no longer read the paper,I feel
it's a waste of money and the paper it's printed on.

Filtering out the controversial industry related news while favoring the industry positives is bias.

Now,I read about the industry related issues online.

The Leader Enterprise is in
business to make money.
The industry ads are profitable.

When The Leader Enterprise stops peeing an my leg while telling me it's raining...I'll read it.

Please help support Melissa and Josh's investigation into the local gas related issues.We need to hear from the local people that are being impacted.
So far everything seems rosy if you rely on news from our
local government's meetings,local news sources and the industry's ads.This film will shed light on the issues that
we haven't learned about from these sources.

Anonymous said...

Who the hell has any money to give for crap like this? I have mouths to feed!

Anonymous said...

"news from our local government meetings" hardly sends the message that everything is rosy.
what meetings are you talking about 9:41?