COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A federal agency is again considering requests to open Wayne National Forest in southeastern Ohio to oil and gas drilling.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that oil and gas companies formally expressed interest to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in drilling about 31,900 acres of the forest through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
The bureau says it’s reviewing to see if the government owns mineral rights beneath those forest sections and to assess potential environmental risks. A bureau official says the agency has scheduled public meetings to discuss the industry’s interest and proposed leasing.
Oil and gas companies told the bureau in 2011 that they wanted to drill beneath the forest. The proposal was dropped after opposition from southeastern Ohio residents and groups concerned that it would cause environmental problems.