Imagine discovering that you don’t own the mineral rights under your land, and that an energy company plans to drill for natural gas two hundred feet from your front door. Imagine having little recourse, other than accepting an unregulated industry in your backyard. Split Estate maps a tragedy in the making, as citizens in the path of a new drilling boom in the Rocky Mountain West struggle against the erosion of their civil liberties, their communities and their health. According to the Bureau of Land Management, “in split estate situations, the surface rights and subsurface rights (such as the rights to develop minerals) for a piece of land are owned by different parties. In these situations, mineral rights are considered the dominant estate, meaning they take precedence over other rights associated with the property.” Zeroing in on Garfield County, Colorado, and the San Juan Basin, this clarion call for accountability examines the growing environmental and social costs to an area now referred to as a “National Sacrifice Zone.” Narrated by Ali MacGraw. Directed by Debra Anderson.
Introduced by Deborah Gaston, Director of Education at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Discussion with director Debra Anderson follows screening.