According to The Washington Post, the U.S. Forest Service has backed away from a proposal that would ban fracking in the George Washington National Forest, a decision which undoubtedly likely to upset conservationists opposed to the controversial practice.
The new plan will allow drilling on certain areas of land. The original plan proposed three years ago would have prohibited fracking for oil and gas inside of the national forest which encompassed 1.1 million acres in Virginia and West Virginia.
Tom Tidwell, chief of the Forest Service said, “The initial draft was one way to go at it, but our policy is we deal with surface issues and we do not get involved in how and what methodology is used to extract oil and gas.”
While the Forest service has not taken a position on fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, they have decided to stop leasing additional land for energy extration. About 10,000 acres within the forest are already leaded to oil and gas companies who own underground mineral rights for an additional 167,000 acres according to the Forest Service.