Promised Land is written by costars Matt Damon and John Krasinki and directed by Gus Van Sant. It is about a small Pennsylvania town that was hit hard by the recession. The farmers are struggling to keep afloat.
Matt Damon plays Steve Butler, a salesman for a large natural gas company. His goal is to buy drilling rights in the area for natural gas extraction. He tells the farmers that the gas will be extracted via hydraulic fracturing or fracking. The process uses water, toxic chemicals and high pressure to break the rock and extract the gas. Butler promises that the farmers’ land will remain in the same condition when the drilling began.
Researches and evidence suggest that it would not be that way. The dangerous chemicals would leak into the water table and result into a toxic run-off. There are already cases of local water systems contaminated due to fracking, where faucets spew out flames. Fracturing the substrata of rock could also lead to earthquakes.
The farmers are willing to risk it for easy money, especially with what Butler has to offer. Then Dustin Noble (John Krasinki), an environmental, shows up in town. He tells them about the dangers of fracking. He assembles a town meeting where local teacher (Hal Holbrook) suggests that the town take a vote on whether to allow fracking or not. This starts the battle for the minds and hearts of the town’s citizens. While Steve is not evil, the deck has been stacked right from the start.
Promised Land provides the view from both sides of the fence. It shows how the United States is trying to eliminate dependency on foreign oil. And at the same time, it shows the dangers fracking does to the environment and livelihoods of the farmers.
Promised Land shows that people should have a voice on environmentally risky practices. It is also an unintentional propaganda against fracking.