Opponents are pushing back as a federal agency again considers requests to open Wayne National Forest in southeastern Ohio to oil and gas drilling.
The Buckeye Forest Council, Sierra Club, Athens County Fracking Action Networks and other advocacy groups have called for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to conduct a "full-scale environmental report" before allowing drilling beneath about 31,900 acres of the forest through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
The bureau is reviewing whether the government owns mineral rights beneath those forest sections and assessing potential environmental risks. The last of a series of public meetings this week discussing industry interest and leasing is scheduled for Thursday.
Companies indicated an interest in drilling in the forest in 2011, but the bureau dropped the proposal due to concern over environmental impacts.