Drilling in the Monongahela National Forest Put on Hold

Recently the U.S. Bureau of Land Management stopped a proposed auction for new oil and gas leases in the Monongahela National Forest (W. Va.) after protests from the Friends of Blackwater Canyon and The Wilderness Society. However, just because the auction is canceled for now, it doesn’t mean there won’t be an auction in the future, according to Bureau spokesman Terry Lewis. An article in The Charleston Gazette reports:

There are an estimated 280 billion cubic feet of federally owned natural gas beneath the forest. When combined with privately held resources, there could be as much as 860 billion cubic feet, according to the forest’s latest land and resource management plan.

Forest officials say there are 17 production wells on forest property, 16 of them tapping federally owned gas deposits.

For the past 50 years, drilling has focused on the Oriskany and other formations. It’s unknown how much gas is held in the Marcellus shale, which stretches from New York to West Virginia and is thought to hold trillions of cubic feet of natural gas. There are no Marcellus wells in the forest.

Read the full article: Monongahela drilling debate continues