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East Central University will host a public forum featuring an expert panel discussion and question and answer session on the environmental impact of fracking, a controversial method of drilling for natural gas, at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 19 in the ECU Foundation Hall of the Chickasaw Business and Conference Center.

The forum will be preceded at 5:30 p.m. by a screening of the award-winning feature film “Promised Land,” directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Matt Damon, John Krasinski, and Frances McDormand.

A part of the Honors Presents the Sciences series, this event is sponsored by The Honors Student Association, ECU SCREENS, and ECU’s Cultural Activities Committee. Both the screening and the forum are free and open to the public.

The forum on hydraulic fracturing will feature a panel of experts on water resources and environmental science, including: Dr. Guy Sewell, executive director of the Institute for Environmental Science Education and Research and professor and Robert S. Kerr Endowed Chair of ECU’s Environmental Health Sciences Department; Dr. Robert Puls, associate professor in the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences at the University of Oklahoma and director of the Oklahoma Water Survey; and Dr. Dominic DiGiulio, Research Associate at Stanford University’s School of Earth Sciences and a recently-retired investigator of fracking-related problems for the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Promised Land” follows a natural gas company salesman Steve Butler (Damon) who tries to buy drilling rights from a small town that has fallen on hard times. With the town having been hit hard by the economic decline of recent years, Butler and his sales partner, Sue Thomason (McDormand), see the local citizens as likely to accept their company's offer for drilling rights to their properties as much-needed relief. What seems like an easy job for the duo becomes complicated by the objection of a respected schoolteacher (Holbrook) with support from a grassroots campaign led by another man (Krasinski) who counters Steve both personally and professionally.

This will be the final showing presented by ECU SCREENS this fall. To learn more about ECU SCREENS and the fall schedule, visit To learn more about ECU’s Honors

Program, visit Dr. Steve Benton, co-director of ECU SCREENS and Director of ECU’s Honors Program, may be contacted at (580) 559-5738 or



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