CU wins grant to study natural-gas development

BOULDER The University of Colorado Boulder has won a $12 million, five-year grant from the National Science Foundation to study how to maximize benefits of natural-gas development while minimizing harms.

Professor Joseph Ryan of CU-Boulders civil, environmental and architectural engineering department will lead a team of air- and water-quality experts, social scientists, health experts and information-technology experts. They will examine the social, ecological and economic aspects of natural-gas development and the protection of water and air.

The team will be advised by a committee of industry, regulatory, environmental, governmental, academic and tribal representatives.

Ryan says part of the teams work will include reviewing industry practices for hydraulic fracturing, a process that involves pumping pressurized water, sand and chemicals into rock to free natural gas and oil.