This slideshow requires Adobe Flash Player 9.0 (or higher). JavaScript must be enabled.

 

Water on Fire

Photographer: Jim Lo Scalzo

 

The gas rush in Pennsylvania, created by the controversial drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking—which requires injecting huge amounts of water, sand, and chemicals at high pressure thousands of feet beneath the Earth's surface to extract reserves of natural gas—, has brought an economic boom to the state, generating 23,000 jobs, and billions of dollars in state and local tax revenues. Many Northeastern Pennsylvania residents opposed to fracking claim it has left their well water non-potable, with allegedly dangerous quantities of methane. Many residents now rely on outside water distribution, and are making their protests heard. Yet with the gas industry expected to keep drilling here—as many as 2,500 new wells are expected in Pennsylvania every year—residents opposed to fracking are bracing for a drawn-out fight.