This weekend, AlterNet published a long investigative piece that I wrote on a documentary that has made the rounds at film festivals and conferences around the country.
Titled, “Haynesville: A Nation’s Hunt for an Energy Future,” the movie has pegged itself as the host of the “middle ground” conversation on domestic natural gas drilling, using the Haynesville Shale, located predominantly in northwest Louisiana, as a case study.
What goes unsaid each time the film director, Gregory Kallenberg, goes on tour, is that Kallenberg is an oil and gas man, with familial industry ties in the Shreveport area dating back 80+ years. Prior to the release of this article, his gas ties have flown under the radar since the film’s release in late-2009.
An excerpt from my AlterNet article explains some of this in more depth:
The Betty and Leonard Phillips Deaf Action Center website reveals that Gregory Kallenberg’s grandmother is Betty Phillips, wife of Leonard Phillips, both of whom are the grandparents of Chris Phillips and his brother Collin, who also works for Phillips Energy Partners. Chris and Collin Phillips, and the Kallenbergs, are cousins and all oil and gas men.
The Phillips family has been involved in the oil and gas industry for over 80 years, according to the Phillips Energy Partners’ website and according to Betty Phillips’ November 2010 obituary.
The obituary also reveals that Betty Phillips’ father, Sam Sklar, “was a pioneer in the early Shreveport oil and gas industry.” Sklar Exploration Company, LLC, still exists to this very day and is run by CEO Howard Sklar.The company history page reveals that what is now called Sklar Exploration Company formerly went by the name Sklar & Phillips Oil Co.”Sklar’s exploration and production activities center on the hydrocarbon-rich Lower Gulf Coast basins, primarily in South Texas, and in the Interior Gulf Coast basins of East Texas, North Louisiana, South Arkansas, South Mississippi and South Alabama,” states the Sklar website.
Howard Sklar and Gregory Kallenberg both formerly sat on the Board of Directors of B’nai Zion Congregation, which is located in Shreveport, according to a June 2008 Congregation newsletter.
This past weekend, the film screened once again at the Texas Tribune Festival. This was, of course, the festival of a so-called “news publication,” rife with journalists doing “reporting” on the Festival.
Also appearing at the festival, among many others, was the big man in the house, T. Boone Pickens. Pickens, one of the main movers and shakers behind the NAT GAS Act, H.R. 1380, was also a vital initial funder of the Texas Tribune, offering the paper $150,000 over a three year period back in 2009, when the online publication began.
I close the article on this note:
Gregory Kallenberg, on the insert for “Updated Extended Version” of Haynesville wrote, “Haynesville still proudly stands as the only independently produced, balanced film that looks at the challenges of our current energy sources and attempt sto sort out a pathway to a clean energy future…Unfortunately, the current energy discussion has been polarized and, we believe, been taken over by the extreme sides of the issue…Haynesville as created to speak to the ‘rational middle,’ those people who don’t stand on the extreme ends.”
Kallenberg has gotten away with touring the country, pretending as if he and his film represents this “vast rational middle” on the natural gas debate.