BP's oil-spewing disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has raised people's awareness of the hazards of undersea drilling, and now a new movie called "Gasland" documents problems being created by natural gas wells being drilled on land across the U.S. The film's director, Josh Fox, tells how he was approached by a drilling company who offered him $100,000 to drill on his Pennsylvania property. The representative told him the ultimate result would be little more than a "fire hydrant in the middle of your field." Instead of jumping at the money, Fox started personally investigating the experiences people across the country have had with natural gas drilling, and a process known as hydrofracking (or "fracking") on their land. Beleaguered homeowners showed Fox their water -- cloudy, bubbling and fizzing right out of the faucet -- and told him how their kids got sick. One man told how his water well exploded spontaneously on January 1, 2009, after he allowed drilling on his land. The natural gas had pooled inside his well and his electric pump ignited it. In another scene, a man holds a lighter up to a stream of water coming out of his kitchen faucet. The water explodes into a fireball. Fox discovered chemicals like benzene, toluene and xylene had leached into people's household water, making them ill. The natural gas industry insists that such chemicals in water wells are naturally occurring. Fox tried to get interviews with the major natural gas drilling companies, but all refused.
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