Updated Mon, Oct 10, 2011 10:31 am
Ohio University is on the record as being opposed to the plan to auction leases for gas and oil development in the state's only national forest.
President Roderick McDavis sent a letter to the Bureau of Land Management Thursday expressing concern over the auction of Athens County parcels in the Wayne National Forest.
The bureau plans to begin an auction Dec. 7 to sell drilling rights for 3,300 acres in the Wayne.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, uses chemical-laced water to break up shale deep underground and release gas trapped in the rock.
McDavis says, "Ohio University is accountable for the health and safety of its students, employees and the communities we serve."
He goes on to say, "To date, there is insufficient research on the effects the proposed activities from the sale of oil and gas leases would have on our community and campus."
McDavis says the sale of the lands poses a threat to healthy living and the learning environment at OU.
"Ohio University is currently unable to support a practice that is not strictly regulated and highly accountable," says McDavis. "We request the withdrawal of the lease sale until a comprehensive, objective environmental and economic analysis is conducted and the absence of risk to our water supply, community health, and local economy can be assured."