Survey: public distrusts gas industry and anti-fracking film, Gasland

  • Marie Cusick

A new study shows the public views both the natural gas industry and the anti-fracking film, Gasland, as among the least trustworthy sources of information when it comes to hydraulic fracturing.
According to a paper published last month in Energy Research and Social Science, people are more likely to trust information from university professors, environmental groups, newspapers, and landowner groups.
Regulatory agencies ranked fifth in trustworthiness among the eight possible choices. They were followed by cooperative extensions and the natural gas industry.

Gasland filmmaker Josh Fox.

Linh Do via Flickr

Gasland filmmaker Josh Fox. The Oscar-nominated film was ranked by survey respondents as the least trustworthy source of information on fracking.

The 2010 film, Gasland, came in last place.
Although newspapers were ranked as the number one source of information, they came in third for trustworthiness– behind professors and environmental groups.
The results come from telephone and mail surveys conducted during the summer of 2012 of people who live in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale region. The paper was a collaboration among researchers from Sam Houston State University in Texas, Penn State University, and Texas A&M.
“There’s so much information in the media from so many different stakeholders,” says lead author Gene Theodori of Sam Houston State. “The general population is just trying to sort through all this information.”
Here’s how survey respondents ranked different sources of information.
Where people get information:
1. newspapers
2. natural gas industry
3. conservation/environmental groups
4. landowner groups/coalitions
5. regulatory agencies
6. cooperative extension
7. university professors
8. Gasland (film by Josh Fox)
Trust in sources of information:
1. university professors
2. conservation/environmental groups
3. newspapers
4. landowner groups/coalitions
5. regulatory agencies
6. cooperative extension
7. natural gas industry
8. Gasland

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