SELC halts fast-track of UT Cumberland Forest fracking lease

SELC has successfully obtained a public hearing for state approval of the University of Tennessee’s proposed oil and gas fracking lease on 8,600 acres of public land in the Cumberland Forest. The University was attempting to fast-track the proposal, bypassing public forums and state appraisals, despite outstanding environmental concerns for local water supplies and wildlife habitat that were raised by a previous gubernatorial administration. UT says the lease is to research the environmental impacts of fracking, but University documents indicate the deal is about the money. Other documents show school officials soliciting research ideas from oil and gas companies.

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