COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A national forest in eastern Ohio has closed its offices to the public through Tuesday, the day it auctions 1,600 acres of park land for fracking, in anticipation of extended public protests.
About 50 people demonstrated against the auction at the entrance to Wayne National Forest Saturday. The Center for Biological Diversity says environmentalists and Native American groups participated. Similar protests have occurred in downtown Columbus.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that opponents also delivered more than 99,000 petition signatures to the U.S. Department of the Interior to stop Tuesday's auction. They argue allowing fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, in the park will harm water systems and wildlife and destroy the park's scenic beauty.
A Bureau of Land Management study found the high-pressure oil-and-gas drilling technique would have no significant environmental impact.