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Protesters opposed to the University of Tennessee's proposal to lease oil and gas rights on 8,000 acres of land in the Cumberland Forest land gather in Nashville this afternoon. The State Building Commission is expected to decide whether to allow UT to move forward. Photo by Louie Brogdon.

Nearly 50 members of environmental and student groups filed into Legislative Plaza in Nashville today to oppose an attempt by the University of Tennessee to lease more than 8,636 acres of public land in the Cumberland Forest to an energy company for natural gas mining.

The university is billing the move as a chance to research hydraulic fracturing, a method used to mine natural gas.

The Tennessee Building Commission's executive subcommittee will hear a proposal from UT at 2 p.m. (CDTl) to allow the leasing to take place.

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

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