Group to challenge land leasing in Wayne National Forest


MARIETTA, Ohio (AP) — An environmental group in Ohio plans to challenge the leasing of land in the state’s only national forest to oil-and-gas drilling companies.

The Ohio Environmental Council is asking President Barack Obama to stop the leases and says it will look at taking legal action.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced this past week that it has leased 759 acres of land in southern Ohio’s Wayne National Forest to several fossil fuel development companies with future hydraulic fracturing in mind.

Opponents contend that opening the land to fracking will threaten public health and local wildlife by polluting the air and water.

But those leasing the land are still required to get a permit before any drilling can begin.

Some national forests in other states already allow hydraulic fracturing.