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Feds delay Ohio forest lease sale to study fracing

The US Department of Agriculture Forest Service has postponed a sale of mineral leases scheduled for the sprawling Wayne National Forest in eastern Ohio for at least 6 months to study surface affects related to hydraulic fracturing.

The sale, formerly set for Dec. 7 at the Bureau of Land Management office in Springfield, Va., was to have made available for bids 3,300 acres on five parcels in Athens, Gallia, and Perry counties, southeastern Ohio.

Studies have indicated that the emerging unconventional Utica shale play could generate as many as 200,000 jobs within 3 years compared with the 13,000 existing jobs that the petroleum industry supports in Ohio, the Ohio Oil & Gas Association has reported.

Wayne National Forest covers 241,000 acres in three large elements, one near Nelsonville and two along the Ohio River in southern and eastern Ohio. Nearly 1,300 oil and gas wells are in operation on forest land, mostly in Washington and Monroe counties in the eastern unit.


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