The Facts About GasLand

Hydraulic Fracturing (“Fracking”) and the HBO Movie GasLand

On June 21, 2010, HBO aired a film called GasLand about the process of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) to bring natural gas up from deep shale or coalbed methane formations found in many areas of the United States. Hydraulic fracturing involves injecting a mixture of more than 99 percent water and sand and approximately 0.5 percent chemical additives under high pressure to fracture non-porous hard rock and allow natural gas to travel to the surface. The film suggests that hydraulic fracturing caused water contamination and flaming tap water. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in 2008 investigated the landowner’s water depicted in GasLand and determined the water was flammable because his water well had been drilled into a naturally-occurring pocket of natural gas.

While more information about hydraulic fracturing is being developed for this site, information can be found at, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy’s Modern Shale Gas Primer 2009.

Is it “fracking,” “fraccing,” “fracking” or “frac’ing?” There are almost as many ways to spell the shortened version of fracturing as there are flavors of ice cream. The spelling that appears to be prevailing is “fracking,” but other spellings are commonly encountered.