- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 1, 2013

If you don’t have the facts on your side, make some up. That’s Hollywood’s typical scheme for pushing its left-wing views on American audiences. Tinseltown’s “Promised Land” puts a heavy thumb on the scale in favor of Big Green in its battle to vanquish the natural-gas industry in the debate over hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” The film is thinly disguised propaganda designed to turn public opinion against an affordable energy source that could prove the undoing of hopelessly inefficient windmills and solar panels.

“Promised Land,” which opened Friday, portrays an economically depressed rural town that becomes the battleground between a rapacious natural-gas corporation and noble environmentalists. The firm wants to buy up drilling rights to local lands, but conscientious activists mount resistance, arguing that the natural-gas wells could contaminate the water table and damage their wholesome community.

Fracking is a breakthrough procedure for tapping natural gas that pumps water, sand and chemicals into underground seams, cracking shale rock and releasing trapped pockets of gas previously unreachable. The technique has made it possible to tap hundreds of trillions of cubic feet of natural gas trapped underfoot and promises to transform the United States into “the Saudi Arabia of natural gas.”

Not coincidentally, the Environmental Protection Agency is investigating whether fracking can contaminate underground water tables — exactly the controversy portrayed in the film. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has spent the past four years as commanding general in President Obama’s war on fossil fuels. She announced her resignation last week, effective following Mr. Obama’s Jan. 20 inauguration, but the changing of the guard is not likely to alter the regulatory agency’s direction. Triggered by a claim of contaminated water in Pavillion, Wyo., the EPA probe could lead to onerous restrictions on fracking designed to reinforce the White House’s ideological commitment to trendy energy firms that have an alarming tendency to go bankrupt after the subsidies run out.

“Promised Land” was written by Matt Damon, former star of the silver screen’s “Bourne” series, and John Krasinski, from NBC’s “The Office.” Mr. Damon is not shy about sharing his radical political views and made a point of being seen among the Occupy Wall Street protesters. While he claims to be fed up with the slow-moving pace of Washington politics, he backed Mr. Obama twice, and he raised money for Democratic senatorial candidate Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts.

Mr. Damon has been less forthcoming about his personal views on fracking, telling Reuters, “The point is that the movie should start a conversation.” He says he was unaware that the film was partially funded by a media company owned by the United Arab Emirates, a fact uncovered by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. The state, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, has a clear interest in hindering the growth of the natural-gas industry in the United States, which threatens to undercut America’s dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

If “Promised Land” is any indication of the forces shaping Big Green’s favored treatment by the left-wing Washington-Hollywood axis, the EPA’s conclusions about fracking are apt to be contaminated by science fiction rather than reflect genuine science.

The Washington Times