UT gets OK for fracking in Cumberland Mountains

UT gets OK for fracking in Cumberland Mountains

March 15th, 2013 by Louie Brogdon in Local Regional News

Protesters gather Friday on the plaza across from the state Capitol in Nashville to speak out against a University of Tennessee plan to allow hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas on a state-owned tract of rolling woodland.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

The University of Tennessee can go forward with fracking for natural gas on 8,636 acres it owns in the Cumberland Forest.

The Tennessee Building Commission today unanimously approved UT's request to research hydraulic fracturing, a method of injecting high-pressure nitrogen gas or water into shale rock to cause trapped gas to be released through fractures made in the bedrock.

State Finance Commissioner Mark Emkes, who sits on the executive subcommittee of the building commission, made a motion to approve the request after hearing three hours of comments from the university and 25 other private speakers for and against the proposal.

Emkes said he supported the move because no other meaningful research was being conducted in the area.

For more, see Saturday's Chattanooga Times Free Press.