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Hollywood hates big business. Movies portraying corporate leaders as greedy villains have been common for decades, but the film that inspired today’s movie makers had its roots in British Columbia. That was the 2003 documentary The Corporation, written by a University of British Columbia law professor, Joel Bakan.
It featured a procession of leftist luminaries, including Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky, uttering views such as that corporations turn citizens into “mindless consumers of goods that they do not want” and that “the problem comes from the profit motivation.”
Hollywood’s attack has escalated to the point where many films feature an anti-corporate “moral” message, the most popular of which portray industries as uncaring pillagers of the environment. The plot of James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster Avatar featured a greedy mining boss intent on destroying an ancient forest inhabited by native humanoids on the distant planet of Pandora to mine a precious mineral called unobtanium.
Animated films for children also follow the lead; consider 1992’s FernGully: The Last Rain Forest, in which fairy folk help stop a logging company from destroying their forest home.
While mining and forestry are frequently cast in the villain role, the oil industry is also a popular target. But you can only sell so many oily movies. Who would have predicted that natural gas, an energy source that can’t be spilled and burns cleaner than all other hydrocarbons, would hand Hollywood a new villain to demonize (or should I say Damonize)?
The new movie Promised Land, co-written by and starring Matt Damon, takes aim at hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking, which is unlocking the enormous potential of natural gas shales in British Columbia and many American states. Curiously, in what is clearly intended to be an anti-fracking film, Mr. Damon’s character has little of substance to say about the alleged environmental risks.
Perhaps the film’s researchers looked at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data showing that, far from being a scary new technology, hydraulic fracking has been used for some 60 years in 1.2 million wells without a single confirmed case of groundwater contamination. Fracturing has also been used in Canada for a long time.
As a young engineer in 1975, I directed the fracking of the first well drilled by the company that grew to become Encana Corp. Since then, Encana has safely fractured tens of thousands of wells on its way to becoming North America’s largest natural gas producer.
For the rest of this article, please go the Globe and Mail website: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/time-to-fight-back-against-hollywoods-misinformation/article7562652/