New fracking documentary to be shown in Merced

A new documentary film that explores fracking and its effects on water is set to show in several cities across the nation, including Merced.

“Triple Divide,” co-directed by Public Herald journalists Joshua Pribanic and Melissa Troutman, will be screened at Coffee Bandits at 6 p.m. Sept. 6.

The 90-minute film covers the issues related to fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing. These issues include waste, drinking water contamination, split estates and injection wells, according to a news release.

According to the filmmakers, the dangers of fracking are being covered up by the industry and the state.

“The public isn’t seeing the full impacts to water from fracking either in California or any other state because regulators are mismanaging data, and decisions are made based on politics instead of science,” Pribanic said in the release. “The water impacts we encountered in ‘Triple Divide’ are systemic. They’re not isolated to a single state, but the public can learn from these experiences to protect their drinking water supplies.”

The documentary features input from industry experts as well as common Americans who are being affected by water contamination. The film, according to Pribanic and Troutman, aims to answer how the state and industry are handling the effects of fracking.

The film is co-narrated by Academy Award-nominated actor Mark Ruffalo, whose nonprofit Water Defense investigates water testing and protection measures, according to the release.

Filmmakers explained that the documentary’s name, “Triple Divide,” comes from the triple continental divide in Pennsylvania, one of four watersheds in North America where three major rivers begin and flow to separate parts of the continent, providing drinking water for millions of people downstream.

The film’s first California screening took place Monday in Culver City. It will also be shown in Santa Cruz, Fresno and Chico.