Fox joined the Daily Show's John Oliver to talk about the upcoming film, which explores the impacts of fracking and the natural gas industry on public health and the environment. His appearance started with a clip from the documentary, which shows a man lighting a hose on fire connected to a well contaminated with methane.
"That is the most pleasant part of consequences," Oliver joked. "At least it's something that functions as a toy. Really the more significant thing is, I don't know, poisoned water.
Activists point to water contamination as a major problem associated with natural gas drilling and fracking wells. A recent Duke University study of water wells in northeastern Pennsylvania revealed that average methane concentrations in groundwater samples were six times higher for homes near natural gas wells.
The Environmental Protection Agency recently dropped out of a groundwater pollution study in Wyoming, leaving the project to be picked up by the state with funding from Encana Corp., an oil and gas producer based in Canada.
The natural gas industry has actively marketed itself as the cleaner alternative to traditional coal-fired power plants, and it's true that burning gas produces only half the CO2 emissions. However, studies suggest that fugitive methane emissions released during natural gas production, processing and transportation could negate the benefits of the fuel.
Methane is shorter-lived in the atmosphere, but is 105 times more potent of a greenhouse gas than CO2.
"It's like the witches in 'Macbeth,'" Fox said. "The witches say to Macbeth, 'Oh you're going to be king,' and they leave out the part about how, you know, you're going to have to kill all your friends, your wife's going to go crazy and commit suicide and you're going to be dead in three days."
"Gasland Part II" premieres on HBO Monday, July 8 at 9 p.m. You can watch a trailer for the film below:
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