UT pauses fracking project, environmentalists cautious

(WBIR - UT Campus) Fracking was a big topic on the UT campus Saturday evening, just a day after the school revealed it would put on hold controversial plans to possibly frack some of its land.

The Sierra Club, and numerous other groups, held Day 2 of the "2013 Fractivist Conference" at UT.

Fracking uses pressurized liquids and gasses to break deep bedrock below the Earth's surface. The process eventually releases fuels like natural gas and oil for energy companies to use.

Many people at the conference are worried fracking can harm the Earth by contaminating water supplies and altering local landscapes. While energy companies have argued the practice is safer in Tennessee because less liquid is used to frack here than in other regions.

"It's good for the Knoxville community to see what might be happening in their backyard [and] to understand what might happen to their public land," said Grace Stranch, of United Mountain Defense.

Throughout the summer, UT has actively searched for an industry partner that would help it frack parts of the Cumberland Forest in Morgan County for research purposes. Last week UT received a "no-bid" from CNX Gas Company, which said the project would not be economically viable for their company.

"While we are disappointed in the outcome we are going to look at the feasibility of continuing this innovative research," said Kevin Hoyt, director of the Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center, in a press release.

Scott Banbury, the conservation chair of the Sierra Club's Tennessee chapter, attended the Fractivist Conference. He said he was happy UT's proposal was put on hold, but he said he is worried it could one day come back.

"We're not surprised that they put it on the shelf, but we think it's just on the shelf," he said.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment