In recent years, the oil and gas industry has employed technologies like horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to extract resources from many areas that had previously been untouched. As these techniques were put into widespread use, interest in oil and gas drilling in the eastern United States dramatically increased. In 2009, for instance, there were more than 378,000 active gas wells in the central and eastern United States, an increase of over 50% from the number of active wells ten years earlier.
As the industry looks for new areas to drill, oil and gas companies have increasingly looked to our country’s National Forests. And unfortunately, the federal government agencies who are charged with being the stewards of these resources are all too frequently pressured by the oil and gas industry and other drilling proponents to open public lands to resource extraction. Since the start of 2011, over 430,000 acres of National Forest lands east of the Mississippi have been leased for oil and gas development.
This guide is meant to educate citizens to understand the negative impacts of fracking on our national forests and empower them to get involved in challenging runaway gas drilling projects on these special public lands.