‘Life in the Red Zone’ gas drilling film depicts flaming Fort Lupton water

The new documentary “Split Estate” is getting all the publicity on Colorado’s Western Slope lately, but a filmmaker from Milanville, Pa., shot a raw, 16-minute documentary called “Life in the Red Zone,” about natural gas contamination in Fort Lupton, that definitely bears watching as well.

Josh Fox, apparently concerned about the looming natural gas boom in the Marcellus Shale of Pennsylvania and New York, jumped in his car, drove west and filmed Fort Lupton, Colo., residents lighting their tap water on fire because of excess methane in their well water that they attribute to nearby natural gas drilling. Check out the film on Fox’s website waterunderattack.com.

Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission director David Neslin, the state official charged with permitted and regulating the natural gas industry in Colorado, declined to do an interview on camera, instead offering to go off the record and provide background to Fox.

Neslin, who has spoken to the Colorado Independent, does not support the FRAC Act, introduced by Colorado Reps. Diana DeGette and Jared Polis (as well as New York congressman Maurice Hinchey) because he says the state already has the drilling process called hydraulic fracturing covered and that federal regulation would spread his staff too thin.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is the process of injecting water, sand and chemicals into gas wells to free up more natural gas. Critics claim fracking is introducing chemicals and gas into groundwater supplies and sickening an increasing number of residents of heavily drilled regions, or “Red Zones.”

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About the Author

David O. Williams

is an award-winning reporter who has covered energy, environmental and political issues for years. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Denver Post. He's founder of Real Vail
and Real Aspen.

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