Photograph by Michael Friberg for Bloomberg Businessweek

Fracking Threatens the American Provence

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    Colorado’s North Fork Valley has become a leader in sustainable agriculture and home to the largest concentration of organic farms in the Rocky Mountains.

    On Dec. 8, the Bureau of Land Management announced that 30,000 acres in 22 parcels along the North Fork were being nominated for oil and gas development. That meant fracking.

    Photograph by Michael Friberg for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    In recent years magazines and travel programs have taken to calling the North Fork Valley, with its three small towns, the Golden Triangle, for its quality of life and exploding food and wine scene.

    Photograph by Michael Friberg for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    With seven wineries, the North Fork Valley is gaining an international reputation for handcrafted wines made from the highest altitude vineyards in the Northern Hemisphere.

    Photograph by Michael Friberg for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    Bobby Reedy, of Reedy’s Service in Paonia, is open to new drilling for natural gas—if “they do it right.”

    Photograph by Michael Friberg for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    Fresh and Wild Farmhouse Inn and Gardens has a coop with a view.

    Photograph by Michael Friberg for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    Some of the parcels of land nominated for oil and gas development come right to the edge of houses, schools, and organic farms.

    Photograph by Michael Friberg for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    Vintner Eames Petersen worries drilling and wine tastings won’t mix.

    Photograph by Michael Friberg for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    In September, the Denver Post reported that so far in 2011, 58 spills of fracking’s leftover “produced water” had contaminated Colorado groundwater, and streams had been contaminated 18 times.

    Photograph by Michael Friberg for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    Mount ­Lamborn (background)

    Photograph by Michael Friberg for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    Some proposed drilling sites imperil Paonia’s water supply, says Mayor Neal Schwieterman.

    Photograph by Michael Friberg for Bloomberg Businessweek
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    Grand Avenue in Paonia

    Photograph by Michael Friberg for Bloomberg Businessweek