How fracking transforms fortunes, land

2013-04-12T16:00:00Z 2013-09-24T12:11:12Z How fracking transforms fortunes, landThe Associated Press The Associated Press
April 12, 2013 4:00 pm  • 

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 natural gas 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. In some places the practice has been blamed for air pollution and gas leaks that have ruined well water. But federal and many state regulators say the practice is safe when done properly.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More from the Gazette

Senate panel approves Keystone bill despite veto threat

Senate panel approves Keystone bill despite veto threat

January 08, 2015 11:17 amLoading…
After spilling secrets, O'Neill faces scrutiny

After spilling secrets, O'Neill faces scrutiny

November 07, 2014 6:18 amLoading…
Possible complete mammoth skeleton found in Idaho

Possible complete mammoth skeleton found in Idaho

October 27, 2014 5:19 pm Photos

Photos

Loading…

WTO rejects U.S. country-of-origin labels for meat

October 20, 2014 12:54 pmLoading…
Gay marriage developments: Wyoming holds out

Gay marriage developments: Wyoming holds out

October 16, 2014 9:47 amLoading…
Gay marriages on hold after Supreme Court justice's order

Gay marriages on hold after Supreme Court justice's order

October 08, 2014 10:00 amLoading…

State-by-state look at gay marriage bans

October 06, 2014 11:02 amLoading…
Denver bank robbery suspect hams it up in mug shot

Denver bank robbery suspect hams it up in mug shot

September 29, 2014 8:28 am Photos

Photos

Loading…
Apple unveils larger iPhone, new watch

Apple unveils larger iPhone, new watch

September 09, 2014 10:24 am Photos

Photos

Loading…
A second officer-involved shooting in Missouri as riots continue

A second officer-involved shooting in Missouri as riots continue

August 13, 2014 7:03 amLoading…

Follow The Billings Gazette

Popular Stories

Get weekly ads via e-mail

Deals & Offers

Featured Businesses