BLM Launches Auction to Lease Wayne National Forest for Fracking

auctionIt’s been 10 looooooong years, but finally the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has just posted a lease sale auction for 33 parcels in Ohio’s Wayne National Forest (WNF). Although there are some 18,000 acres under consideration for leasing by the BLM in WNF, this first batch amounts to about 1,600 acres–most of it in Monroe County, OH. Monroe is a prime location for Utica Shale drilling. WNF is the only national forest in Ohio and portions of it are found in Athens, Gallia, Hocking, Jackson, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Lawrence, Perry, Scioto, Vinton, and Washington counties. WNF is a “patchwork” of public land scattered among private land. Some 60% of the mineral rights below WNF are privately owned. Those mineral rights owners have been denied the use of their property rights for a decade. The BLM controls drilling on federally-protected lands like WNF. Last November the BLM held a series of hearings about finally beginning to drill in WNF. With this auction, it appears that not only will public land get leased, but drilling on private land in WNF can go forward as well…

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