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In Virginia, emerging option on fracking controversy: Distinctions must be made

On Election Day, oil industry and fracking opponents reportedly split eight local races in California, Ohio and Texas. But now we may be seeing the emergence of how such polarization may be mitigated. It’s called imposed compromise.

The U.S. Forest Service has just announced a Solomonic resolution to a multi-year fracking controversy that is receiving widespread support from environmentalists and energy advocates alike. It allows fracking in the largest eastern U.S. national forest but makes most of the woods off-limits to drilling.

The new plan will allow drilling on only about ten percent of the forest acreage now leased for energy development and on acres whose mineral rights are privately owned. Development of these existing leases would require further environmental approvals.

The GW National Forest limited fracking decision is by no means anything like a panacea for the fracking issue. Strong opinions on both sides of the issue will persist, largely on local and regional safety and economic considerations  It does, however, slightly widen the limited middle ground on the fracking controversy. Earlier this year, Business in Society reported on such attempts; in that space. See