Citizens of the Shale

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DRC/Barron Ludlum
Rebekah Sheffield and her husband moved to Dish in 1996, with dreams of restoring a 100-year-old farmhouse. Now, their home, shown March 17, 2011, is surrounded by the town's many natural gas production facilities.

With 14,000 gas wells and a maze of pipelines and production equipment, the country's need for a cleaner fuel conflicts with the fast-growing cities and suburbs in 23 North Texas counties above the Barnett Shale.


Industry fueling region's transformation

Lowell Brown takes a birds-eye view in this, our first joint reporting project with the graduate students at the University of North Texas Mayborn School of Journalism.

Editor's Note

In a 23-county region sitting atop the gas-rich deposits of the Barnett Shale, concerns of water contamination, airborne pollutants, noise and lifestyle changes have coexisted with new job opportunities, rising incomes for communities and their residents, and significant advances by some companies in safeguarding the environment.

Atmosphere of concern

Elizabeth Smith met Rebekah Sheffield on the driveway of her Dish home, as odors from natural gas production equipment wafted in the summer wind.


Defending the Mound

A resident of Flower Mound and English teacher, LaJuana Hale brought a strong understanding of community to this report of the struggle to maintain its quality of life.


Just below the surface

A veteran journalist, Pennie Boyett tackled one of the toughest questions in shale development -- is our water quality at risk?


Cement plays vital role in drilling

Also a veteran journalist, Beth Francesco Currie explains cement -- the divider between energy and environmental catastrophe.

Hard work ahead

Sarah Perry digs deep into Texas regulatory culture, and finds little help for those residents who are adversely affected.


Practive lays waste to land

Spike Johnson talks to those living near "landfarms," the little-understood practice of disposing of drilling waste by spreading it on farm land.

Striking the balance

In the final installment, Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe introduces two key concepts for policy-makers trying to strike a balance between energy development, human health and the environment - the resource curse and the legacy effect.

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