The non-profit group ArkansasFracking.org is set to release Land of Opportunity, the highly anticipated documentary film series about fracking in the Fayetteville Shale.
The film will premiere at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10, at Reynolds Performance Hall on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas.
The Fayetteville Shale, which includes Van Buren County, sits in North Central Arkansas. It is home to 200,000 people, countless cattle farms and pristine, interwoven waterways, some of which supply drinking water and food irrigation.
The Fayetteville Shale is also home to 4,500 natural gas wells, which are produced using the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. In Arkansas, up to 50,000 gallons of chemicals mixed with sand and water are injected underground to release trapped natural gas. Worldwide, fracking is shrouded in controversy and the Fayetteville Shale is no different.
The first documentary in the series will introduce the filmmakers and highlight the link between the fracking process and the Guy/Greenbrier Earthquake Swarm, a rash of 1,300+ tremors in northern Faulkner County that began in late 2010 and culminated in a 4.7 magnitude earthquake in February 2011. The film explains what triggered the earthquakes, how state officials handled the situation, and what they knew from the beginning. The inaugural film also introduces other subjects such as water contamination, property rights, and conflicts of interest.
Co-creator of the film and Conway doctoral student Emily Lane expands on the theme of the series.
"Arkansas has historically promoted short-term economic gain over economic and environmental sustainability," says Lane. "We live under the boom and bust mentality, and consequently we have seen some profit while others suffer. Residents across the state are increasingly battling against the negative impacts of misguided ‘opportunity.’ We can do better."
Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the screening will be followed by a 45-minute Q&A session. Additional educational materials will also be available to patrons. Lane says she plans to show the film in Clinton at a later date.