Fracking, aka hydraulic fracturing, is described in Wikipedia as “a well-stimulation technique in which rock is fractured by a pressurized liquid.” The liquid, primarily fresh groundwater, includes sand as well as various chemical agents.

In Colorado and several other states where drilling, mining, and wind energy operations are conducted, mineral rights are frequently separated from surface rights in land. Mineral rights are real property; they can be bought, sold, leased, and inherited, and thus divided and subdivided over time.

My grandfather’s heirs – my sister and myself and four cousins, plus the children of deceased members of our generation – now number 14 individuals, with more to come as our generation hands over to the next. The heirs of my grandfather’s partner now number 15 individuals, so there are currently 29 subdivisions, or shares, in this 80-acre parcel.

The graphic is a map from the State of Colorado gas and mining GIS website. The blue lines nearest the edges of the graphic enclose a section =~ square mile = 640 acres, located in Weld County, CO. (The land is located about 40 miles due north of Denver, on the flats, perhaps 20 miles from where the land starts rising toward the front range of the Rockies.)

The property in which I have an interest is the north half of the NW quarter of this section; therefore 80 acres. A translucent orange box is superimposed to show this location. The yellow dots are existing, old-fashioned vertical wells. The red lines show the proposed wells. These are horizontal or “directional” wells, crossing many properties, as is now, sadly, “normal” in fracking.