‘FrackNation’ producer speaking at GOP event

By JOSH COTTON

jcotton@timesobserver.com

A documentary producer and Irish journalist, who has been featured in segments on BBC, CNN and Fox News, is coming to Warren.

Phelim McAleer will be the keynote speaker at the Warren County Republicans’ spring dinner to be held at the Holiday Inn on Friday night. He will also be in Warren for a Sunday screening of his recently-released documentary “FrackNation”, which explores the issue of hydraulic fracturing in oil and gas development. That screening will take place at 4 p.m. at the Warren Mall.

Warren County Republican Party Chairman David Bauer said that McAleer’s stops in Warren are part of a regional tour which includes Franklin as well as stops in Jamestown and Lake Huntingdon, N.Y. and Wheeling, W.V.

“In different years, we’ve talked about having speakers different than political speakers (but) never seemed to come across the right person,” Bauer said, explaining that the barrier, typically, is cost. “In this case, we got to thinking about the issue,” he said. “Oil and gas is so important for our county and our region.”

Viewing the press on the fracking issue as largely negative, Bauer said that the local GOP’s goal in bringing McAleer to Warren is enhancing public education on the issue.

“We decided to make an investment in this, (an) investment in education for our community,” he said, explaining that highlighting issues is “an important part of what we want to do in the community. This is an important issue that we think people should be educated about.”

McAleer brings a unique look at the issue of whether fracking poses various health concerns.

“The perspective that is really plain and straight forward is really telling the story through the people whose lives are impacted by the issue,” Bauer said. “(It is) quite surprising to hear it’s their perspective that the movie is about, not his, (but) what is really going on here. We think that’s a really great approach.”

We really do want people to be aware of the movie screening at the Warren Mall. That is free. It’s open to the public,” he said, contrasting that to the dinner where there is a cost. “We think people should come out and watch that. We intend to donate copies of the movie to all of the county and school libraries. We think it’s a great education tool for people to have.”