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CU wins grant to study natural gas development

BOULDER, Colo. -- 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-Boulder's civil, environmental and architectural engineering department will lead a team of air and water quality experts, social scientists, human 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 team's work will include reviewing industry practices for hydraulic fracturing, a process that involves pumping pressurized water, sand and chemicals into rock to free oil and gas.