Tax revenue coming from shale, oil, and gas development has many states very happy, but the boom is also putting a strain on regulators. There are not enough of them to inspect all the drilling sites. Colorado, for example, has 17 inspectors for more the 47,000 active oil and gas wells. Kirk Siegler reports from member station KUNC.
KIRK SIEGLER, BYLINE: Each day, Jim Precobb(ph) of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission logs about 400 miles in his state-owned truck.
Economists say many industries are looking up this year. But perhaps none has a better outlook than the energy sector.
New drilling technologies and rising fuel prices have generated a boom in drilling — and lots of high-paying jobs for people with the skills to work in the oil patch. On some college campuses, companies are so eager to find petroleum engineers that they are offering jobs to students even before they have graduated.
Some days, it would be easy to mistake the Metro Taxi dispatch center in Denver for a police station. Traffic and crime incidents are recorded in a special logbook, as drivers call in descriptions and locations to police.
It's part of a program called Taxis on Patrol. Just a day after the program began, a cab driver helped police make an arrest for a fatal hit-and-run. In the months since, eyewitness calls from cabbies using a bulletin system similar to an Amber Alert have led to hundreds of arrests.
Colorado holds its Republican caucuses on Tuesday. Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul have focused their attention there recently. The state will also be a key battleground in the general election contest. From Denver, Kirk Siegler of member station KUNC reports.
The single largest cattle show in the United States, the National Western Stock Show, is now under way in Denver. Fans roar overhead, keeping the air cool and the odors at bay, as Jeanette Fuller spiffs up her Black Angus — with product.
"High-strength hairspray, basically, just trying to get the hair to accentuate the good things about her and kind of cover up the bad things about her," Fuller says.
The obesity crisis is catching up with Colorado, the nation's thinnest state.
Being fit is part of the culture in Colorado: there are biking trails and hiking trails and ski slopes and even the high altitude itself helps burn off calories. But waistlines are widening, especially among children.