A new documentary will show what it's like to have your life turned upside down by fracking.
I can't even imagine.
Imagine you're home.
You may not be there right now — maybe you're out running errands, or at a friend's house, or on vacation (lucky you), or wherever. But just imagine that you're at home, wherever home may be.
625 feet away from your home (and your family) is a fracking well.
That's 0.12 mile, or less than two football fields. And that's measuring from the center of the pad — the actual well itself, not counting the width of the pad. Within a minute (yeah, a minute!), you could walk right up to the well pad's edge (although the security guards wouldn't let you, even if it's on your property).
And by the way, a few hundred feet in the other direction is another fracking well.
What even is a fracking well? Why do you care?
You care because the well has totally changed your life. It's loud, it's lit up sobrightly at night, there are dozens of huge trucks coming and going on your little road every day.
And worst of all, ever since they started fracking near your home, your well water has smelled horrible and has been giving you headaches. You're worried about what your water's been contaminated with and what it might do to your health — or worse, your kids.
Maybe you've never had this experience — but way too many others have.
Chances are, this scenario (thankfully) won't sound too familiar to you. But it's frighteningly familiar for many people in rural areas — and it's becoming more common, too. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, shale gas production in the U.S. has increased drastically even just from 2010. An estimated 12 billion cubic feet of dry shale gas were produced each day in the U.S. in 2010. In 2015, that number had increased to nearly 40 billion.
That's where the documentary film "In the Hills and Hollows" comes in. This film, created by Keely Kernan, will document the effects of the natural gas boom on the lives of residents and communities in West Virginia.
It includes interviews with folks who have had to endure the exact scenario I described:
Along with a look at some of the other stories from people on the ground:
Kernan is raising money to help fund completion of the film. Check out her fundraising video here:
What's so important about this documentary?
I had a chance to ask the filmmaker just that. Here's what she said:
"We live in a world where we are often disconnected from fundamental aspects of our lives, such as the sources of our water and energy. 'In the Hills and Hollows' explores the lives of residents who live at ground zero of today's energy.
"We ... are often disconnected from ... the sources of our water and energy. 'In the Hills and Hollows' explores the lives of residents who live at ground zero of today's energy."
Ultimately, I hope that the film inspires an important conversation about what is at risk and what type of future we want — not only as citizens of West Virginia but of the country, and of the world. I also hope that the film helps people feel connected to the stories being shared and that it helps give residents a voice."