A NEW FILM CONNECTS THE PLIGHT OF HELLBENDERS WITH CONCERNS OVER GAS DEVELOPMENT
Co-directors Annie Roth and Justin Grubb did an interview with the Allegheny Front to discuss the film "Hellbent."
Originally posted in the Allegheny Front by KARA HOLSOPPLE
The story of Grant Township’s fight to keep a proposed fracking waste injection well out of their community has been well documented in the local and national press.
To keep the PGE project at bay, the rural township in Indiana County passed an ordinance in 2014 banning injection wells, where fracking wastewater contaminated with chemicals is disposed of deep underground.
When the township was sued over it, Grant Township voted to enact a home rule charter in 2015, which banned injection wells and invoked a legal theory known as the rights of nature. The home rule charter was invalidated by the PA Commonwealth Court this summer, and the township is appealing to the state’s Supreme Court.
But “Hellbent,” a new short documentary, looks at the community’s fight through the lens of a special resident of the township – the eastern hellbender salamander.
Hellbenders are elusive by nature and now rare because of pollution and disruption of the habitat in their range, which includes Pennsylvania, where it is the official state amphibian.
The Allegheny Front’s Kara Holsopple spoke with directors Annie Roth, a freelance science writer, and Justin Grubb, a science communicator who used to work as a biologist with hellbenders, about their film, “Hellbent.”