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What the Frack? Natural Gas from Subterranean Shale Promises U.S. Energy Independence--With Environmental Costs [Slide Show]

Natural gas cracked out of shale deposits may mean the U.S. has a stable supply for a century--but at what cost to the environment and human health?

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INDUSTRIAL USE:

Ultimately, the town of DISH may be fated to become less rural and more industrial. "Why did they do it here?" Mayor Calvin Tillman says. "Because they can."....[ More ]

WATER POLLUTION:

Of course, not all the wastewater is properly disposed, as evidenced by the leaks at a facility in Pennsylvania. "There's never been a documented case of contaminated water supply," says Ed Ireland, executive director of the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council.....[ More ]

FRAC WATER:

Hydraulic fracturing requires a lot of water—at least 11.5 million liters per well—and then faces the problem of what to do with the contaminated water left over at the end. In the Barnett Shale, that typically means pumping it even deeper into the ground for disposal.....[ More ]

URBAN DRILLING:

There are more than 8,000 wells within an 80-square-kilometer area around of Fort Worth, according to natural gas driller Range Resources, many of which can be seen in suburbs, next to shopping malls, and even on private property.....[ More ]

FRAC FIELD:

Hydraulic fracturing—pumping a cocktail of water, sand and chemicals roughly two kilometers deep to shatter shale and release natural gas—isn't confined to the countryside. For example, this clustering of trucks is fracking a well next to a high-end suburb along the banks of the Trinity River in Fort Worth.....[ More ]

COMPRESSORS:

Five facilities to compress natural gas and send it all over the country like this one sit side by side on the outskirts of DISH. Collectively they add up to major air pollution, according to residents, including benzene (a known human carcinogen) at levels 55 times higher than that deemed safe by regulators.....[ More ]

CITY LIMITS:

DISH, Tex., a town of 200 on the far outskirts of the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex, is home to more than a few seekers of the country life. "People want to move out just a little bit; get three, five acres; get a horse, whatever.....[ More ]

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