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Chamber to show 'Fracnation' film in Indian Creek Valley center

| Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

The Mountain Laurel Chamber of Commerce will show the film “Fracnation” on Tuesday during a public event at 6 p.m. in the Indian Creek Valley Community Center.

“Fracnation” is a documentary about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a drilling method used by the energy industry to reach natural gas.

“This is open to everyone in the community,” said Kris Enberg, chamber executive director.

The documentary was made by filmmaker and investigative reporter Phelim McAleer in response to questions concerning another documentary, “Gasland,” that addressed fracking.

“As a chamber of commerce, our duty is to represent the interests of our area's businesses, including the community and environment in which they operate. Regarding practices used to harvest our natural resources, our duty is to build awareness and educate,” said Enberg.

The evening will feature a screening of the documentary followed by a question-and-answer period with a panel of guests representing various groups and companies.

Panel members will be Jordan Freil of state Rep. Mike Reese's office; Jason Rigone of the Westmoreland County Economic Development Corp.; Davitt Woodwell, executive vice president of the Western Regional Pennsylvania Environmental Council; Susan Oliver, manager of community relations for WPX Energy; and Kathryn Hilton of the Mountain Watershed Marcellus Shale Coalition.

Merle Skinner, chamber president and executive director of the Christian Family & Children's Center, will serve as moderator.

“This evening will help us to provide source information on what is happening in our community,” Skinner said, stressing the program is not being presented in response to any problems or issues but as an informational tool for those who may have concerns or questions.

“Information up here goes through the grapevine on what is happening,” Skinner said. “We are having this as a good, positive way to get information to people on what is going on in the community, and I think that we have a good panel that will be able to address any questions.”

The presentation and forum panel program will be the first of several that the chamber plans to offer that deal with energy and natural resources.

“We are committed to bring original information about these changes, so that everyone has an opportunity to hear as much as possible from those sources who know firsthand what the proposed changes are and how they can have positive and constructive input into that process,” Enberg said. “Our goal is to provide avenues from which positive dialogue can happen and provide meaningful ways for people to be involved in our community as we continue to work to ensure that our area not only remains a great place to live, work and play, but is a place to thrive in each of those respected areas.”

The program will start with registration at 6 p.m. The screening of the documentary will begin at 7.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.

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