Fracking transforms fortunes, land
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.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- BNY Mellon is putting iconic Citizens Bank Tower up for sale
- Super Bowl ads win by playing to viewers’ emotions, experts say
- Pipeline companies weather downturn in prices of natural gas, oil
- U.S. Steel maps out greater efficiency for 2015
- Pennsylvania shale gas producers received hundreds of environmental citations in 4 years, PennEnvironment says
- Super Bowl draws big increase in first-time advertisers
- McDonald’s replaces CEO amid sales decline, effort to transform image
- ‘Patient’ Fed keeps interest rates flat
- Obamacare enrollment up in Pennsylvania
- Alibaba ripped in report
- U.S. Steel warns it may lay off almost 2,000 workers in Alabama, Texas