Praise for Split Estate


Split Estate is an eye-opening examination of the consequences and conflicts that can arise between surface land owners in the western United States, and those who own and extract the energy and mineral rights below. This film is of value to anyone wrestling with rational, sustainable energy policy while preserving the priceless elements of cultural heritage, private enterprise above-ground, and the precious health not only of people but the land itself.”

—Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico

"You tell an important and compelling story.You have captured brilliantly the issues and are helping tell the story that needs to be spread to a much broader audience." 

—Gwen Lachelt, Executive DIrector, The Oil and Gas Accountability Project

"I urge our elected leaders— especially those who make decisions about energy development and environmental health in the Rocky Mountain West— to confront and tackle the critical issues raised in this film."

—Sandy Buffett, Executive Director, Conservation Voters New Mexico

"Highly recommended for collections with an interest in environmental issues, especially those with a focus on the western United States."

—Tom Ipri, University of Nevada, Educational Media Reviews Online

“ Eye-opening...This riveting program sounds the alarm on current energy practices.”

—Candace Smith, Booklist

"Split Estate is a must-see film for any elected official who deals with natural resources issues and the impact that oil & gas extraction can have on a community. Anyone who sees the film will be changed by the experience - for the better."

—Brian Egolf, New Mexico State Representative

"Split Estate effectively dramatizes the concentrated costs regularly borne by those who reside on or near the underground energy resources that most of us take for granted. Even reasonably knowledgeable viewers are likely to come away with a heightened understanding of both the politically privileged position of our nation's extraction industries and the role that concerned citizens can play in holding those industries accountable."

—Christopher H. Foreman, Professor, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, Author, The Promise and Peril of Environmental Justice

"Split Estate is an excellent and timely look at a critical issue in energy development. Our nation's headlong rush into energy development on public lands sounds fine--until the drilling rig sits outside your backdoor. The government's retention of mineral rights on millions of acres of private land will continue to destroy the lives and dreams of Americans until Congress confronts the split estate problem. Thanks for exposing this dirty little secret legacy from the past."

—Jack Tuholske, Fulbright Scholar, Professor of Law, Vermont Law School

"The latest wrinkle in our nation's addiction to fossil fuels is the discovery that we may be able to unlock vast reserves of natural gas by 'fracking' previously impermeable formations. Split Estate is a valuable commentary about the impacts of this development...The film puts faces and personal stories to the dilemma, whether in home videos of flaming bubbles in a creek that provides drinking water or in the faltering steps of a once vibrant, now debilitated woman.
Photographs do not lie, and crisp aerials vividly show the extensive footprint of the drill pads and how they pock the landscape. Infrared night images show that volatile organic carbons, invisible by daylight, are constantly escaping from the gas storage tanks into the air. Animated overlays of drilling activity on satellite images and maps make the statement that the problems of expanded drilling are compelling.
In addition to the feature film, the DVD contained extras that are especially helpful from my standpoint as an educator. These extras provide more information about the legal issues involved and efforts for community action...Split Estateis a powerful tool for helping us reflect on how we will balance the true costs of developing natural gas as our nation's 'bridge fuel to the future.'"

—K.K. DuVivier, Professor of Law, University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Author, The Renewable Energy Reader

"The split estate model may work well for gas firms, [but] not so well for people living on affected tracts of land...Split Estaterepresents a thorough, engaging, and important peek into hydraulic fracturing and natural gas extraction...Environmental health and social impacts are presented with vivid compassion for those living in the middle of a split estate. Recording their experiences creates a compelling case against hydraulic fracking in its current, deregulated form."

—Stephanie Malin, Rural Connections

"Split Estateis a moving portrait that highlights important questions regarding the safety of hydraulic fracturing near our local communities."

—U.S. Representative Diana DeGette, Colorado

"Tells a powerful story about Americans living with the dirty side of oil and gas development in their own backyards. As oil and gas production expands to more and more places throughout the country, it is essential that communities have the information they need to support policies that protect our health and environment."

—Amy Mall, Senior Policy Analyst, Natural Resources Defense Council

"We are fighting for our lives here in the Marcellus Shale in NY and PA. Your film may save us."

—Diane MacInnes

"From the first viewing, it appears the documentary has teeth that quite literally draw the viewer into the grips of the devastation told by Debra Anderson and the people she interviewed...This can become a vehicle to tell the truth about the devastation of natural gas development, and perhaps persuade those who do not understand this, to say 'no' to this leviathan."

—Kathleen Dudley, co-chair Drilling Mora County, NM

"A harrowing documentary of the predatory ruthlessness that fuels America's endless thirst for oil and gas...Energy companies can and will drill for natural gas right outside a family's front door...Above all, Split Estateis not only the plight of the few -- it is about the long-term health and environmental costs of America's addiction to oil, and drives home the need to find alternative energy sources here and abroad. Highly recommended."

—The Midwest Book Review

"Our DOAS [Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society] chapter purchased the DVD Split Estatefor showing in the community...and a lively discussion followed....Here in New York State we are facing a similar prospect, as natural gas drillers are preparing to drill and hydro-frack hundreds of wells both vertically and horizontally, hoping to make millions of dollars in the process. We DO have an opportunity to protect our land and health, and to preserve the beauty of upstate New York State. We DO OWN our mineral rights, and need to protect our homes and land from the driller's lack of concern. We CAN protect our civil liberties and communities and health! One of the best ways to do this is to educate and inform others about the massive hydro-fracking push throughout our area."

—Jean T. Miller, The Kingfisher, newsletter of the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society

"Split Estate" is a devastating documentary about an ongoing environmental catastrophe in the Rocky Mountains where 85% of the property owners do not own the mineral rights to their land which are held instead by private companies. That along with deregulation pushed by the Bush administration and lawmakers friendly to oil and gas companies(from both parties) helps to not only make their drilling for oil and natural gas without need of compensation or permission possible but also allows for it in populated areas. That would be bad enough even without the toxins emitted by the wells which poisons the ground water, along with the more spectacular fires.

What the documentary does so well is to focus on those landowners most afflicted(some whose land have been in the family for generations) and allows them to tell their stories of hardship in their own words. Testimony from experts is used to contradict the energy companies who are given more than enough rope to hang themselves. It is not entirely hopeless as there are signs that things are slowly starting to change for the better as the residents have taken to grass roots activism and more long range plans like alternative energy are proposed. In any case, this does not have to be happening this way. But do not think this is something that you do not have to worry about...

— Walter M., Rotten Tomatoes Blog, Review, Dec. 7, 2010



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