Mineral Lease Sales In Wayne National Forest Temporarily Halted

By
Taylor Pool

Dateline
Updated Tue, Nov 15, 2011 8:10 am

The USDA Forest Service is halting the sale of mineral leases in the Wayne National Forest to do research on the effects of deep horizontal drilling, a process commonly known as "fracking."

 
Wayne National Forest Supervisor Anne Carey says the new technology used in fracking was not available in 2006 when the original forest plan was developed. 
 
She says Forest Service is taking a break to analyze the impacts of fracking to the surface of the land.
 
"So the surface occupancy is, we're looking at the footprint on the surface. The Bureau of Land Management, they manage the mineral rights underneath the surface, but the forest service looks at the impacts to the surface. That could be the roads, could be the actual impact of the pad where the drilling is occuring, how the waste materials are handled. So that's what we're going to be looking at," Carey says.
 
Carey says the new technology can drill up to about 15,000 feet deep into the Utica and Marcellus shale formations instead of the original technology which could only drill up to about 5,000 feet.
 
Carey says Forest Service was only in the initial phases of developing potential mining operations so the time to look at the effects of fracking is now. "You know, this is the right thing to do. And it's the right thing to do because we do have this changed condition," says Carey.
 
The research could take up to six months and all new findings will be made public.
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