University Of Tennessee Opens Bidding For Natural Gas Drilling
The University of Tennessee has formally begun to seek bids from companies wanting to lease natural gas rights in Morgan and Scott counties. UT owns about 8,600 acres in its Cumberland Forest research area. UT officials say the move is for research into the environmental effects and best-practices for extracting natural gas from the Chattanooga shale. The State Building Commission has to approve any contracts; UT officials hope to shore up a contract by October. Meanwhile, the Southern Environmental Law Center has sent a letter to the UT Board of Trustees raising questions about that research, citing conflict-of-interest and environmental concerns over fracking, a controversial method of drilling for natural gas.