published Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

UT pursues fracking on state-owned land

The Cumberland Forest, established in 1947, is the largest field research unit in the UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center, encompassing 8,000 acres of Cumberland Mountain forest land in Morgan and Scott counties. This forest facilitates several large- and small-scale forest and wildlife management research projects, as well as ecological demonstration projects. The Cumberland Forest is also the site of some of the earliest stripmine reclamation research in Tennessee.
The Cumberland Forest, established in 1947, is the largest field research unit in the UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center, encompassing 8,000 acres of Cumberland Mountain forest land in Morgan and Scott counties. This forest facilitates several large- and small-scale forest and wildlife management research projects, as well as ecological demonstration projects. The Cumberland Forest is also the site of some of the earliest stripmine reclamation research in Tennessee.

The University of Tennessee is proposing to lease more than 8,636 acres of public land in East Tennessee to an energy company looking to do hydraulic fracturing for oil or gas.

The publicly owned property in Scott and Morgan counties would be leased for up to 20 years or as long as paying quantities of oil or gas area being produced, according to the agenda of the executive subcommittee of the State Building Commission. The land is known as Cumberland forest.

What’s more, the quietly talked proposal — which surfaced as a possibility in December — has now been fast-tracked with little public discussion and is on Thursday’s agenda of the subcommittee.

The subcommittee must decide whether to approve UT’s issuance of a request for proposal — with a waiver of appraisals — to enter into an oil lease, gas lease and coalbed methane lease on the land.

about Pam Sohn...

Pam Sohn has been reporting or editing Chattanooga news for 25 years. A Walden’s Ridge native, she began her journalism career with a 10-year stint at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. She came to the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 1999 after working at the Chattanooga Times for 14 years. She has been a city editor, Sunday editor, wire editor, projects team leader and assistant lifestyle editor. As a reporter, she also has covered the police, ...

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