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This Spy Balloon Will Soon Float Over the Fracking Fields of North Dakota

Published: August 29, 2013
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Source: Mother Board



If you work in the fracklands of North Dakota, keep an eye to the sky: A data-thirsty DIY balloon rig may soon be soaring over your head. 

See, the great American fracking boom is underway. Oil and gas companies are in full-throttle drillmania, natural gas prices are plunging, and a whole lot of rural countryside is lit up like a Christmas tree. North Dakota's Bakken Shale is probably the best exemplar of the bonanza: Once an unpopulated wilderness expanse, now it's a giant industrial operation that's as visible from space as a major city.



Why? Methane flaring, mostly. Sure, lights installed at the newfangled industrial operations are a factor, but it's the flaring that takes the cake. We know that an awful lot of gas is being released in these violent flarings, which occur when a surplus of ignited natural gas is released from plant equipment, but we don't have a whole lot of great data on the phenomenon. And that's why the independent watchdog group Skytruth wants to float a giant spy balloon over the fracking fields. 

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