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SPOTLIGHT

1. NATURAL GAS

Marcellus Shale hospitals claw toward better data on gas field health issues

SAYRE, Pa. -- Two young engineers wanted to impress their boss. The crew had worked 17 days straight to produce a natural gas well in Wyoming that looked like a giant energy find on the front end of an emerging oil bust. That night in 1982, as their boss celebrated over dinner 100 miles away, the enthusiastic 25-year-old engineers started dismantling the gas flares. A big job would already be done by the time their boss returned, they reasoned. "We had no cellphones, no radio and no TV," said Theodore Them, at the time a 31-year-old chemist working in some of the nation's most remote gas fields. Later, Them and dozens of others watched with horror as a miscalculation caused the flare's 65-foot tower to tip and fall, crushing and killing the men.

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