TribLIVE

| Business


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Fracking transforms fortunes, land

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

On the Grid

From the shale fields to the cooling towers, Trib Total Media covers the energy industry in Western Pennsylvania and beyond. For the latest news and views on gas, coal, electricity and more, check out On the Grid today.

By The Associated Press
Friday, April 12, 2013, 2:21 a.m.
 

RIFLE, Colo. — Three hours west of Denver, across the Continental Divide, the Rocky Mountains begin the long transition into high desert plateaus.

This sparsely populated land is dotted with ranches and small towns that were once local hubs for mining the rich minerals found under the earth.

But over the past few years, this town and others have become increasingly a local center for the hydraulic fracturing industry. Off the highway outside town in all directions, one can see evidence, large and small, of the latest local energy boom, from natural gas extraction all the way up the chain to refining.

Hydraulic fracturing — “fracking,” for short — pumps millions of gallons of water mixed with fine sand and chemicals deep into oil and gas wells.

The water splits open oil- and gas-bearing rock. Specially formulated fracking fluids help carry the sand into the newly formed fissures and keep the cracks propped open.

The rapid growth of the oil industry in the region has brought opposition from those who warn of environmental costs. Fracking can release hydrocarbons into groundwater and the chemically tainted water can cause air pollution, they say.

Industry officials say a dearth of documented contamination out of 1 million fracking jobs in the U.S. since the 1940s proves the process is safe.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Business Headlines

  1. Experts: If health insurers’ safeguard goes broke, consumers could pay
  2. Visa limits vex businesses
  3. Kings Family Restaurants sold to California firm
  4. Camera prevalence approaches sci-fi realm
  5. MedExpress bought by United Health Group
  6. Nike, Under Armour invest in watching exercisers’ steps
  7. Rules could kick door open for nuclear power
  8. Paper’s prevalence unlikely to diminish
  9. Tech sector drives gains on Wall Street
  10. California drought may be felt in Pittsburgh restaurants, groceries
  11. Planned Smallman Place condos in Strip District selling fast