July 8th, 2010
08:38 AM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Josh Fox

On Thursday in Fort Worth, Texas, the Environmental Protection Agency will hold the first in a series of four public meetings on the controversial issue of "hydraulic fracturing" (aka "fracking"), a method of extracting natural gas from deep within rock formations. Fox has learned firsthand about the process.

He is the filmmaker of "Gasland," a documentary that was prompted in 2008 when a gas company offered Fox $100,000 to lease his family's land in Milanville, Pennsylvania, to extract gas from the land. At the time, he did not know what hydraulic fracturing was and what leasing his land for fracking would mean.

He visited people living near sites in Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Colorado and Texas. The film shows what it says are the consequences of fracking: pools of toxic water; fouled air and water; sickness in plants, animals and people; and fires, including tap water that ignites.

The documentary airs on HBO this summer. HBO and CNN are owned by Time Warner.

The Nation: An interview with 'Gasland' director Josh Fox

HBO: 'Gasland'

Arnold Hirsch and Peter F. Burns

When New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu delivers his first state-of-the-city address Thursday - titled "Eyes Wide Open" - Hirsch, a University of New Orleans historian of that city, says Landrieu will be sitting in the proverbial catbird seat.

"The size of his victory [66 percent of the vote] means that nobody can come to him and say, 'You owe me your election,' " Hirsch said in Newsweek.

Burns, a historian at Loyola University, said Landrieu has a chance to improve on the city's sometimes sordid politics.

"He can do less politics than normal, but I don't think he can eliminate it," Burns told Newsweek.

Newsweek: Springtime in New Orleans

Paul Root Wolpe

The director of the Emory University Center for Ethics is part of an all-star lineup of panelists as the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues meets for the first time Thursday and Friday in Washington.

President Obama in May asked the newly formed commission to study "the emerging field of cellular and genetic research known as synthetic biology ... consider the potential medical, environmental, security, and other benefits of this field of research, as well as any potential health, security or other risks."

Wolpe, the son and brother of prominent rabbis, holds multiple titles at Emory: the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Bioethics, the Raymond F. Schinazi Distinguished Research Chair in Jewish Bioethics, a professor in the departments of medicine, pediatrics and sociology, and director of the Center for Ethics at Emory University. Along with that mouthful, Wolpe also serves as the first bioethicist for NASA.

Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues

Emory Center for Ethics: Paul Root Wolpe

Richard Pumphrey

His bust of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia, has people red-faced.

Veterans groups are angry that the leader of the communist empire that killed millions of its own citizens is enshrined with Franklin D. Roosevelt and others.

Pumphrey, an art professor at Lynchburg College, also created busts of six other World War II Allied leaders. Ironically, a statue of Stalin recently was removed in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, where Stalin was born.

Pumphrey said he was not concerned about whether his work would engender protest.

"The sculpture of Stalin does not honor Stalin. Rather, it's a sculpture that tells about his nature," the artist said in The Chronicle of Higher Education. "You don't do a portrait because of just what a person looks like. You do it to emphasize what the subject matter is about."

The Chronicle of Higher Education: Sculpting an inconvenient truth

The Washington Times: Opposition grows to Stalin bust at D-Day Memorial

Missy Wall

As director of Dallas' Teen CONTACT, which does education and outreach for middle and high school students, Wall said she is worried about what she calls an appalling trend: teen biting. Yes, teens "marking" their beloved with bites on arms, chests and necks.

Wall told The 33 News (KDAF-TV in Dallas), "What I've seen, too, is on the cheek or on some of the body parts that are visible, almost like you would think of a hickey."

Wall said the teens are bombarded (think "Twighlight" and "True Blood") with vampire books, television shows and movies where you bite the one you love.

"It becomes a contest of who has the bite mark, and then that means somebody cares about you or you're in a relationship or you've been chosen, which is very similar to the movies," she said in an interview with The 33 News.

She said she views the bites as a form of mutilation.

The 33 News: 'Twilight' effect? Teenagers biting each other to mark affection


Filed under: Most Intriguing People
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Brad Malone

    Your intriguing person, Josh Fox is full of B**S. I have been involved in fracturing wells for a major oilfield service company for over 30 years. There is no mystery and no magic.

    If there is surface pollution or groundwater contamination, then mistakes have been made on the surface. Nothing magic or mysterious.

    Without fracturing the rock, THE USA AND CANADA DO NOT HAVE NATURAL GAS OR OIL!!!!.

    Before you start doing something stupid, you had better realize that without deep water drilling for our oil and fracturing the rock to extract our natural gas, the USA no longer has warm homes in the winter or fuel less than $3.00 per gallon.

    Do not over react to a sensationalist who has found a few examples to make his movie and convince you that this is ruining the world. These are the same people who destroyed safe nuclear power 30 years ago.

    July 8, 2010 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • al

      Bob and Brad, yeah lets destroy all the clean water, animals and trees, then life would be so so wonderful!!!!

      July 8, 2010 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • RAK

      Oh, how right you are. Unfortunately, the Obamanites and tree huggers only need one bad incident to try to shut down an industry. I, too, have been around this industry for over 30 years and fracinc was here when I got here. It is definitely not something new. As I read frac reports today it is mostly treated water (surfactants) and sand or other inert propant that is used.

      July 8, 2010 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • al

      Safe nuclear is an oxymoron,
      where does the waste goes? They just put in in the cave, sounds very practical and safe method NOT

      July 8, 2010 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Esperanza

      Brad, YOU are the one who is full of B**S***!

      July 8, 2010 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • LMS

      Nonsense, you clearly lack an understanding of how the international oil market works. The oil the US produces does not magically go into tanks on our soil for our consumption. ALL oil in produced in the world goes to the international market where it is priced and sold to countries. Additional production by the US just means there is more oil in the international market, we do not benefit from it. It is actually in our best interest to produce as little of our own oil as possible so that we have reserves once it runs out in other countries and the international market falls apart. Why use our own oil when we can get it from other countries?

      Natural gas is a different story, but very little of our natural gas is produced via hydraulic fracturing, and we export a tremendous amount of it. Americans use almost the same amount of natural gas today as we did in the 60's. Were we to disallow exports we'd have more than enough for ourselves without resorting to environmentally disastrous methods like hydraulic fracturing.

      July 8, 2010 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Patriot

      I call B.S on you sir! Get your facts straight before posting your lies.

      July 8, 2010 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Patriot

      Your just a snake in the grass!

      July 8, 2010 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • J Allen

      So burning streams of water is 'overreacting'? You do realize that you're destroying the habitability of the entire area around where the drilling occurs when you use the fracing process. If you're hungry, you don't start gouging out your eyes and eating them, otherwise, you'll go blind and eventually starve. Short term thinking has long term consequences, despite how badly one might think the need is for the resource. Either find another way to do it non-destructively, or find another non-destructive way to create energy like solar or wind power.

      July 8, 2010 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • chieatfetus

      Why don't you drink the water from the affected areas & tell us in 10 years what kind of cancer you have? Better yet, show us a picture of all your hair falling out. You're the one who's B***S***

      July 8, 2010 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • bikermom

      thanks for trying to shed light on the facts. I have a degree in Petroleum Engineering and worked in the oilfield for years with Mobil (prior to ExxonMobil). I go crazy when I see this story. First of all it is "fracing" not "fracking". I even saw it described as a "new procedure for drilling gas wells". Not to say there is never a problem with this procedure, especially in a very shallow formation where it might be possible to frac into the water table, which is very rare. But it is a very routine procedure that has been used on practically every well drilled since the 50's, since we tapped out all the high porosity reservoirs back in the day of cable tool drilling and wooden derricks. Since the BP oil spill I've seen the most ignorant opinions from people who have zero knowledge about this issue. I wish they would stop.

      July 8, 2010 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • MikefromWV

      Yeah, just keep thinking, "Three Mile Island" and "Chernobyl". Nuclear power is so safe. And let's not forget how cheap it is. Just look at the billions it cost to build the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant in New Hampshire. That left those in New Hampshire with some of the highest electric rates in the country - and for electricity they didn't even need. Seabrook's power was sold to out of state interests. And yet, when they were proposing the construction of the plant, they were constantly crying about how much New Hampshire needed the power. What a joke.

      I've seen the results of a lot of this natural gas extraction and the process is not pretty. Nor are the results.

      But what the he**, it's just environment that is being trashed. What the heck do we need to worry about destroying it. Just look at all of the profits it creates for the fat cats.

      July 8, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  2. Bob

    It is fracing not "fracking" has been around since the 1950s to 1960s. This isn't a new technique being implemented in the oil industry. You want to know a major "consequence??" We are able to unlock billions to trillions of cubic feet of natural gas that would otherwise be impossible.

    July 8, 2010 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
    • al

      Well lets put a drill up yours and see whats happens, deff wont be good for you

      July 8, 2010 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mike

    I am glad this has finally made the news and is being given public attention. I am no tree hugging hippie but I do care about the environment because we all live in it and so will our children. You may grab a bottle of "spring water" but whats upstream from that stream? It effects us all so lets take care of it and stop selling everything for a quick buck.

    July 8, 2010 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  4. LMS

    The fact that it has been exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act (done in closed rooms by Cheney and energy industry executives) tells me that this must be a horrible thing for our environment. I don't care if there is enough natural gas to power the US for 1,000 years with no foreign energy; the fouling of drinking water and air is not worth it. We do not need natural gas to survive, we do need clean water and air..

    July 8, 2010 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • RAK

      Not usre where you get your facts as fracing has been around for about 40 or 50 years, long before Cheney had anything to do with Halliburton. Please kindly remove your head from your rear end and learn facts before you post.

      July 8, 2010 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Patriot

      True... True!!!

      July 8, 2010 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob from Pittsburgh

      Reality is: we don’t know what the oils execs and Cheney agreed on, the meeting were secret and on his last days Cheney made sure he was the guy that moved all his files.. He got a bad back out of it. The point is Cheney and his oil cronies could of sold us to the Lowes bidder and we would have not a clue

      July 8, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Cale Welborn

      Maybe you don't need natural gas to survive, but you do need it to provide electricity to your home so you can post ridiculous comments. Hey moron – they fracture the rock more than a mile beneath the surface. I'm pretty sure your water isn't coming from down there.

      July 8, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. teaparty01

    Oh yeah.
    Josh is just your normal everyday guy who first talks to his then neighbors in Pennsylvania to get their opinion.
    Then just to be sure he flies to Colorado, Wyoming and Texas to talk to his other neighbors like most ordinary people would.

    My Question is " Who is Josh Fox "

    I never heard of him. I would assume that if we did an investigation of him we would probable find that he is an environmental activist of some type.

    July 8, 2010 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
    • conoclast

      You 'never heard of him'? All that means to non-teabaggers is that Rush Limbaugh or FoxNews hasn't yet mentioned his name. And of course your "objective" research wil reveal that he's indeed some sort of commie environmentalist, won't it. I for one can't believe how ignorance and outright stupidity has become accepted in US politics!

      July 8, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. al

    RAK gets paid by the industry, its obvious

    July 8, 2010 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  7. Esperanza

    RAK, why don't YOU drink the water that YOU ruin!

    July 8, 2010 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Patriot

      It's always funny to watch these people squirm when you open a tap and say... if it's so safe, you drink it. They will kill another without impunity, but god forbid they step up to the plate.

      July 8, 2010 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  8. Tex

    We have several gas rigs near our house . My wife and I are very concerned about the toxic effects from this .

    July 8, 2010 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  9. AHJ

    Here is another point of view:

    http://www.energyindepth.org/2010/06/debunking-gasland/

    July 8, 2010 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  10. worried

    Try watching the movie. It isn't an isolated problem. That is why Cheney passed a bill in 2005 that didn't hold the drilling companies to the clean water act. If it is safe why would they have a problem with following the clean water act? I have never been able to light my water on fire like them people can. I personally would rather walk and have clean water.

    July 8, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  11. Mr. Grumpy

    When people disagree with climatologists over global warming the liberals scream that we shouldn't argue with experts. However, when experts give an opinion that the liberals disagree with, then it must be the experts are paid off by "big business." You know, you can't have your cake and eat it too.

    July 8, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  12. Mr. Grumpy

    Also, for the people so down on nuclear power, you should really learn about the technological advances in the last 40 years since Carter killed the fast breeder reactor program (which probably set us back 20-30 years in nuke tech.) As for the costs of building a reactor, a good chunk of that is because of countless nuisance law suits by environmental groups which delays construction and helps drive up costs.

    July 8, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  13. Cale Welborn

    Josh Fox is a total fraud. When will people wake up and realize that it takes real energy to run your A/C, car, plasma TV, IPad and whatever other modern conveniences people are accustomed to having. Everyone talks about energy independence & now that shale gas reserves make that slightly more attainable (but ultimately still far out of reach), people want to shut that down as well.

    Clean energy & green jobs are a pipe dream – get over yourselves.

    July 8, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • BMac

      Right-On Cale. I've almost lost faith in our society to be understand and use logic. The most recent scientific data from liberal/conservative/non-biased experts from around the globe show that all the "green" energy currently produced in 2010 (wind,solar,hydro etc.) account for less than 3% of the total amount of energy needed to sustain current viability as a planet. Where is the other 97% +/- going to come from people?????????? We all agree there need to be measures and safeguards and especially alternatives to fossil fuels, but we aren't there yet! So, keep driving your prius and sipping your latte's while listening to your iPod believing that you're living a "green" lifestyle all the while being ignorant to the fact that all of those things were produced and/or processed by fossil fuels derived by drilling. There's a fool born every day.............only we seem to have more than our share here in the US.

      July 8, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Hitman

    some of you people are sure full of BS I was working in the oilfields from 1960 until I retired in 2002 and saw thousands of oil wells frac'd without any trace of harm to the environment.you people who just shoot of your faces to be heard should go get a job and start enjoying life instead of trying to sound so wise.you sure make people like me laugh at your ignorance.....thanks for the chuckle keep it up – the world still needs a few clowns --signed Captain Canada

    July 8, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  15. worried

    Lets compromise then. Test the air and water around the area before drilling then test after every month. If anything changes then the company has to fix the problem and pay $100,000 every week that it has effected the residents. The gas isn't as important as the water and air. Could you imagine the cost per gallon if we had to get water for somewhere else? Water and air isn't a luxury and is a necessity. Look at the gulf right now. That only happened because more money is put into it then trying to find a different energy source. For thousands of years and today people have survived with out it but no one has with out water and clean air.

    July 8, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
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