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A Matter of Density Photograph by Joel Sartore
Gas-well pads, pipelines, and service roads creep up the flank of the Roan Plateau in southwestern Colorado, where there's one well per 20 acres (8 hectares)—a density that could double. The change troubles some residents of the Grand Valley of the Colorado River. "If you have one well per 320 acres (129 hectares) or 140 acres (56 hectares), then there are manageable impacts," says local contractor Duke Cox, who heads the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance. "But when you've got a well every 20 or 10 acres (8 or 4 hectares), it becomes an industrial-use zone." Cox's group and others are fighting to keep the industry off of the top of the plateau, a haven for wildlife and backcountry recreationists.
Photo Fast Facts
Camera: Nikon F5 Film Type: Fujichrome Provia Lens: Wide-angle telephoto Speed and F-Stop: 1/125 @ f/5.6
Weather Conditions: Clear Time of Day: 8 a.m. Lighting Techniques: Natural light