Tennessee university proposes fracking on its own land

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The University of Tennessee wants to allow hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas on a state-owned tract of rolling woodland, raising the hackles of environmentalists who question its stated goal of raising funds to research the environmental impact of such drilling.

"Fracking" is an increasingly popular and lucrative method for energy companies to remove gas or oil from underground rock using liquids introduced under pressure.

The university is requesting permission to allow an outside company to drill on about 8,000 acres of mature woodlands it maintains as an outdoor laboratory in the Cumberland Plateau - while performing research on the effects on water, air, and ground quality.

Southern Environmental Law Center staff attorney Gwen Parker said raising funds from a drilling method in the name of research under study poses a "fundamental conflict of interest."

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