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Today in Greeley, the city at the heart of Colorado's Front Range "frack country," a seven-member planning commission will consider a proposal by oil and gas company Synergy to add three more well-drilling facilities "and related equipment" to a site already being drilled in a scenic residential neighborhood roughly three miles from the city center. Synergy is one of the companies working the boom in natural-gas extraction in area of the rich Wattenberg Field, which stretches under most of north-east Colorado. The boom is mostly the product of the effectiveness of hydraulic fracturing, the extraction technique where millions of gallons of a mixture of water, chemicals and sand is blasted deep into the earth to free trapped gas.
Whether it’s called hydraulic fracturing, hydro-fracking or just plain fracking, the controversial but common natural gas drilling process remains the focus of intense public scrutiny and public awareness events from Colorado to New York, including a couple of unique fracking functions set for this weekend.
Natural gas hydraulic fracturing took an alarming star turn in the national media this weekend, spurring lawmakers to call again on their colleagues to pass the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals (FRAC) Act, a bill first introduced by Colorado lawmakers Diana DeGette and Jared Polis in 2009. An Academy award-nominated documentary and a Sunday New York Times expose underlined the chemical and radioactive hazards "fracking" poses to drinking water.
Actor Mark Ruffalo didn’t win an Oscar for best supporting actor Sunday night for his role in “The Kids Are All Right,” but he did make headlines for his role supporting the anti-natural-gas-drilling documentary “Gasland,” which also came up short during the annual Academy Awards. Josh Fox’s “Gasland” film was up for best documentary – an award that went instead to “Inside Job” – and Ruffalo wore a blue water droplet pin to show his support for clean water and Fox’s investigation of the drilling practice of hydraulic fracturing, including incidents of water contamination in the gas patches of Colorado. The natural gas industry has gone to great lengths to debunk the film.
Filmmaker Josh Fox was living in northeastern Pennsylvania above the massive Marcellus Shale natural gas play when he decided to make “Gasland,” a documentary...