Recent discoveries of natural gas combined with better extraction technologies have bolstered the Texas economy. But they have also brought heartache to some Texans living among the rigs and trucks, who worry about pollution stemming from the unknown chemicals used in drilling and are often frustrated with state regulators' response. The Denton Record-Chronicle, a newspaper in the Barnett Shale region, has produced an in-depth series about "what it means to live in the midst of a modern gas boom." For anyone interested in the impact of hydraulic fracturing, the increasingly widespread method of blasting water, sand and chemicals far underground to extract hard-to-reach gas, it is worth reading.
The five-day series ended today and was produced in partnership with the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas. It covers health concerns in the towns of Dish and Flower Mound, as well as broader concerns about what's causing odors associated with drilling; the impact of hydraulic fracturing on water supplies and quality; the importance of a good cement job in constructing a well; the growing practice of "landfarming," which involves "spreading tons of drilling mud and other toxic waste" over the land; and the economic impact of drilling, including the risks of becoming a "mono-economy." The Record-Chronicle has also posted a number of relevant documents online, embedded in the stories.
Dawn Cobb, the paper's managing editor, said that the series "appeared to be well-received," and had generated substantial online discussion.