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GASLAND: Monday on HBO

Greg Harman

Can you do this with your water? Do you want to?

Natural gas. It's become the bane and boon of North Texans contending with the toxic emissions of deep gas drilling (and suddenly ubiquitous hydrofracking) of the Barnett Shale. The environmentalists' preferred “bridge” fuel we had hoped would help lead us into a clean, safer carbon-free future. And yet, in practice, this fracking is spoiling water supplies across the country.

I'm wondering how the residents sitting on top of the rapidly developing Eagle Ford Shale across South Texas will respond to the film. I know what at least one of the drilling promoters would say (as he intimated to me yesterday): He'd blame it on efforts by the coal industry to spoil the public image of this abundant clean-burning natural resource.

Or how about Dish Mayor Calvin Tillman, who after years of pushing the natural gas companies to clean up his town's air was so demoralized by the sudden appearance of contaminated well water this year that he put a For Sale sign outside his home this month. He'd leave Dish in a heartbeat for the sake of his childrens' health, he writes, if he could just sell the place.

Increasingly, gas-well fracking isn't just a problem for folks in Colorado, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, New York, or North Texas. If you care about water and South Texas, you may want to watch the premeire of GASLAND on HBO Monday, June 21. (And, yes, for all my enthusiastic shilling, I'll be expecting that free merch to start pouring in, Mr. Director. I've got a political style points to collect here. When I hit 230, I earn a free scooter and a crate of Fuji water.)

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