By MANNY FERNANDEZ July 8, 2012
FORT WORTH — Henry Donald Young Sr. is buried in a small pioneer cemetery next to his parents here, beneath the drooping leaves of an old tree at the industrial edge of one of the largest cities in Texas.
But Mr. Young’s relatives wonder how restful his final resting place has become. Thousands of feet beneath the cemetery, a company has been drilling for natural gas using the controversial technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
“I would imagine that drilling and fracking and all that vibration is bound to cause some damage,” Mr. Young’s son, Don, said of the 134-year-old Handley Cemetery. “But who’s going to dig up their dead relatives to see if there’s a crack in the casket? What’s being done to Fort Worth in general, whether it’s to the living or the dead, it’s immoral.”
Mr. Young, 60, has been a longtime critic of fracking, which has proliferated in the Barnett shale formation that runs underneath the Fort Worth area. He also is the founder of a group called Fort Worth Citizens Against Neighborhood Drilling Operations.
His concern is shared by others in both rural and urban parts of Texas, Pennsylvania and Ohio, where drilling for natural gas beneath homes, parks, churches, schools and even cemeteries has become commonplace. The fracking process, in which sand, water and chemicals are injected deep underground at high pressure to extract natural gas from rock formations, has been criticized by environmentalists and others who worry about its effects on groundwater and residents’ health.
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