by Elizabeth Shogren / NPR - See full story – w/ audio and slideshow.
Living in the middle of a natural gas boom can be pretty unsettling. The area around the town of Silt, Colo., used to be the kind of sleepy rural place where the tweet of birds was the most you would hear. Now it’s hard to make out the birds because of the rumbling of natural gas drilling rigs.
The land here is steep cliffs and valleys. But bare splotches of earth called well pads are all over the place.
“That’s the one I’m worried about because it just went in,” says Tim Ray.
We’re on his front porch just after sunset. You can see the lights of drill rigs all around his small house.
“There’s actually one up here over the hill that they just put in.” He points in another direction: “There’s three or four of them up there.”
The rigs are lit up like Christmas trees and puffing different colors of smoke. People in Ray’s neighborhood feel like the rigs are so close, they call them “Close Encounters.”