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U.S. Forest Service Expected To End Wrangling Over Fracking In George Washington National Forest

June 7th, 2013 by WCBC Radio

The U.S. Forest Service is expected in June to end two years of wrangling over whether to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the George Washington National Forest. Debate has raged about the issue since 2011, when the service initially proposed a 15-year moratorium on fracking in the swath of largely undeveloped wilderness stretching down the spines of the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains in western Virginia. Environmental groups say fracking risks water contamination and would threaten trees in the 1.1 million-acre forest. Opponents of the ban say domestic drilling promotes energy independence and provides jobs. Fracking is essentially on hold in Maryland as a governor appointed committee studies all aspects of the issue, with a final report not expected until next year.  Mike Ward, executive director of the Virginia Petroleum Council, tells WCBC News that drilling for natural gas in Marcellus shale deposits could prove a boon for local economies- and the Maryland is missing out on tremendous opportunities while neighboring states move forward…

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