Joshua B. Pribanic and Melissa Troutman
Triple Divide is said to be the only documentary of its kind on the controversial subject of fracking capable of speaking to all sides, with exclusive interviews from the industry, experts, and Americans suffering in the wake of shale gas development. “It’s the best movie on fracking to date [using] facts, not fiction or spin” wrote Pennsylvania resident, Robert Donnan. Academy Award nominated actor Mark Ruffalo co-narrates the film, taking part in the project after being shown an online screener a few weeks before the final release. The film is co-directed by journalists Joshua Pribanic & Melissa Troutman. The 90-minute documentary is a project by PublicHerald.org, a Pennsylvania based nonprofit organization.
Triple Divide is built on evidence from cradle-to-grave investigations that attempt to answer the question, “How are state regulations and industry handling impacts from fracking?” Throughout the film’s 10 chapters, which cover waste, class II injection wells, drinking water contamination, split-estates, the “pre-drill test scandal”, and the “pressure bulb” are on the ground accounts of hair-raising journalism. Hard-hitting, Triple Divide is also fair. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is highlighted in the film for weakly enforced regulations, but “the head of ‘Oil & Gas’ at DEP, Scott Perry, told me he’s seen the film and it’s very well done,” said Troutman. “This attests to Public Herald’s journalistic integrity and ability to reach both ends of the public spectrum: community members and heads of state.” The film reveals how water contamination is being covered up by the industry and the state, essentially rewriting water quality history in the United States by dismissing pre-drill tests. Meanwhile, state regulators are using compliance as a means of regulating without enforcing the law, abandoning the public in the wake of shale gas development.
Triple Divide’s title represents one of only four Triple Continental Divides in North America, a place that provides drinking water to millions of Americans and feeds rivers that reach three separate sides of the continent, signaling to the audience that everything, and everyone, is downstream from shale gas extraction.