Oil and gas industry building giant walls to try to ease impact

MEAD — Oil and gas companies are erecting a new style of walls around drilling and frack sites as the boom expands into Front Range communities.

Made of earthen-color fabric on steel frames up to 32 feet high and 800 feet long, the walls shield industrial machinery from a high school and wetlands greenbelt in Greeley, prairie homes in Windsor, and kids riding bikes and skateboards in Mead.

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It is the latest innovation for companies equipped with horizontal drilling technology that are trying to solve a puzzle: how to extract more fossil fuels from under where people are living and minimize impact.