'Gasland' Documentary's Claims Called Into Question By Colorado Regulators

01/21/2011 10:58 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

When the HBO documentary 'Gasland' debuted in the summer of 2010, it brought widespread attention to the natural gas extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Through often-disturbing images of flammable faucets and brackish water, 'Gasland' paints a dire picture of a process that creates--in director Josh Fox's words--an "enormous problem of water contamination, air pollution and people getting sick."

Now, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is refuting some of the claims in the movie. The Durango Herald quoted Debbie Baldwin, an environmental manager for the oil and gas commission, as saying "[w]e certainly can't say that oil and gas operations never impact groundwater because, in fact, it does happen. But some of the information about the state of Colorado was incorrect in that film."

Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission director Dave Neslin was among the numerous officials who Fox claimed turned down interview requests for the documentary.

Not surprisingly, a representative from the oil and gas industry took criticisms a step further, arguing to the Herald that the movie is costing Colorado taxpayers dollars by increasing the number of requests for water-well monitoring by area residents, thus distracting regulators from more important tasks.