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Cathy McMullen became a fracking refugee in 2009. The part-time home health-care nurse had been living on an eleven-acre spread near Decatur, forty minutes north of Fort Worth, where she fostered rescue dogs and tended a peach and plum orchard. Her rural idyll was shattered in 2008 when a company called Aruba Petroleum began drilling a natural gas well about two thousand feet from her property. The fracking boom was going strong, and McMullen’s land sat atop the Barnett Shale, a five-thousand-square-mile geological formation stretching across North Texas. At one point, McMullen counted 82 trucks lined up outside her home, loaded with water, sand, and fracking chemicals. McMullen didn’t own the mineral rights to her land, which meant she couldn’t stop Aruba from drilling. She received…
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