A public screening of the Academy Award nominated documentary Gasland will bring the story of natural gas drilling and the controversial practice of hydrofacturing to light on Wednesday, April 20, at 7 p.m. in the North High School Auditorium. Admission is free.

Gasland deals with an issue that is being widely discussed in North East since news of 11 new natural gas wells in North East Township became public. The largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history, which is sweeping across the United States and Pennsylvania, has hit home.

The Halliburton-developed drilling technology of “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing, is unlocking vast reserves of natural gas in other parts of Pennsylvania. But is fracking safe? Does it infringe on the water rights of others?

When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarks on a cross-country odyssey to find out. On the way, he discovers the stories of farmers, ranchers and other residents whose water, health and livelihoods have been affected by fracking and other forms of natural gas drilling.

In addition to earning an Academy Award nomination for the best feature length documentary, Gasland is the winner of the 2010 Sundance Special Grand Jury Prize, Winner of the Lennon Ono Grant for Peace, and the Best Documentary Award from the Environmental Media Association.

Gasland’s local premiere on April 20 comes just two days before Earth Day, whose activities involve more than 1 billion people around the globe, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

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