Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012 | 2:02 a.m.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration knows the location of the country’s natural gas shale deposits, which are targeted for exploration. The drilling companies show up offering property owners leases at prices from $15 per acre to $6,000 per acre. Some property owners take less money and let their neighbor have the drilling site put on their land. This type of well can go down and fractures the rock sideways.
Fracking is injecting a mixture of sand, water and chemicals into a well. The mix cracks the shale and fills the cracks with sandy grit, allowing natural gas to flow up the well.
Any water well within 1,100 feet is in danger from carcinogenic chemical contamination. Fracking retrieves the wastewater used and deposits it in deeper wastewater wells, which presents a risk of minor earthquakes.
The drilling sites offer a temporary energy boom and improved economy, but at what price? Sites go dry and everyone moves on. There are ghost towns still left from the gold mining strikes in the 1800s. How does a small community respond to a mix of new wealth, environmental concerns, crime spikes, noise, trucks and other disruptions?