Cumberland Forest Drilling Research “On Hold,” University Of Tennessee Says

UT reportedly wanted hundreds of thousands of dollars from a winning bidder, $35/acre rent, and a 15 percent royalty on gas. Credit Cumberland Forest United, UT Institute of Agriculture

UT reportedly wanted hundreds of thousands of dollars from a winning bidder, $35/acre rent, and a 15 percent royalty on gas. Credit Cumberland Forest United, UT Institute of Agriculture

The University of Tennessee is putting “on hold” a plan to research drilling for natural gas on state-owned land.  That’s after no companies submitted bids last week for the project in UT’s Cumberland Forest. 

Only one drilling firm responded, saying it wouldn’t take part, unless perhaps the school’s proposal was restructured.  In a statement today, a UT official says while it’s disappointing for the program, they’ll look at the feasibility of continuing.

Opponents of the drilling process known as fracking want to block a lease the 8600-acre research area, northwest of Knoxville.  They argue if such a project enriched the school, it would bias research looking into problems with fracking.


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