Energy: Backyard Fuel

Do-it-yourself gas and coal

The nuns of Mount St. Benedict's Priory in Erie, Pa., last year came up with an unusual solution for the common problem of skyrocketing energy prices. After consulting a geologist, they decided to dig their own natural gas well. While the community prayed for divine assistance, the two-man J & L Well Service Co. began drilling for gas on the nuns' 100-acre property. Within four days, natural gas was found; today this private energy source heats the two-story convent that houses 140 Benedictine nuns and a chapel that seats 300 people. The sisters' $105,000 investment—which came from selling...

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