Residents in suburban Texas and rural Pennsylvania are living with the nastiness and rancor erupting in communities nationwide over the volatile issue of hydraulic fracturing, a form of gas drilling.
This relatively new technique allows rich stores of gas that was once out of reach to be extracted from more than a mile underground. Intense drilling activity is under way in the Barnett Shale of Texas, the Marcellus Shale of Pennsylvania and other regions. As thousands of Americans become energy magnates in their own backyards, others worry about environmental dangers. The industry insists the process is safe, for people and the environment.
This energy boom has touched off sharp debates over the sudden emergence of gas companies and their 14-story drilling rigs, some in the middle of neighborhoods.
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