Indie film looks at the impacts of gas drilling in the West
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. About 30 people turned out for a showing of the film, “A Land Out of Time,” at the Glenwood Springs Community Center Wednesday evening.Directed and co-produced by Aspen native Mark Harvey with Laurel Garrett, it follows the stories of ranchers, conservationists and passionate lovers of the West in Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, and close to home in western Garfield County, who have seen the effects of oil and gas drilling on their land.New Mexico ranchers Tweeti and Linn Blancett spoke about selling the ranch that’s been in the family for six generations. They talked of losing cows to poisoned water from the gas drilling and seeing their land increasingly cut up by rigs so there isn’t enough room for their cattle to graze.Rifle hunting guide Keith Goddard spoke about the loss of the Roan Plateau to oil and gas drilling and how that has brought together folks who had previously been on opposite sides of the table.”Not too long ago you couldn’t get me in the same room with environmentalists,” he said. Now that’s changed. “Sooner or later we’ll have to band together to get what we want.”Cut in with beautiful panoramas of such wild places as Wyoming’s Red Desert and Colorado’s Roan Plateau are the stark realities of gas drilling in the Jonah Basin near Pinedale, Wyo., and in the San Juan Basin of New Mexico.Carbondale energy analyst Randy Udall, who heads the Community Office for Resource Efficiency, ties the stories together with commentary about looming energy development.”One of my greatest concerns is nothing seems to be off limits” to energy development, he said. The accelerating push to develop oil and gas in the Rocky Mountain West “… is one of the great land rushes in American history.”Former Lewis and Clark National Forest supervisor Gloria Flora also spoke about her awakening in 1997 when oil and gas interests clamored to lease federal minerals along the Rocky Mountain Front in northern Montana. An alliance of environmentalists, ranchers and hunters spoke out strongly against the leasing and Flora denied the lease.At the time of her decision Flora said to herself, “If I can’t stand up and say this landscape is too important to develop, then what am I doing in this job?”The film suggests the same thing can happen in other places of the West where natural gas drilling is picking up speed.”We’re at a fork in the road here,” Udall said, where a new trail can be chosen with energy efficiency and renewable resources. What’s needed “is a grassroots rebellion … to stand up and fight for it,” he said.Western Colorado Congress and the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance sponsored the showing, which culminated in Glenwood Springs Thursday, after showings in Battlement Mesa and Rifle last week.”If there is one message we can take away from the film it is we can get involved … and speak out at the ballot box,” said Patrick Barker, community organizer with Western Colorado Congress.Sean Jeung, who saw the show, said, “I think we have a lot of power that we don’t exercise. These meetings bring up some of the choices we can make through our voting voice,” she said. “More than anything (that) encourages me about what we can do.”Liz Chandler agreed. “We need to remember the power of one when we vote.”She also said she was concerned the film would be depressing, but after seeing it, “to me it was very empowering.”Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.orgPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO
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