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Plan Would Limit Drilling in George Washington National Forest

By: STEVE SZKOTAK - Associated Press Writer
By: STEVE SZKOTAK - Associated Press Writer

A draft management plan for Virginia's George Washington National Forest limits the type of gas and oil drilling that could occur in its 1.1 million acres and opens portions of the forest to the possibility of wind development.

The plan released Wednesday would not allow horizontal drilling, typically using hydraulic fracturing to reach natural gas deposits. The approach, called "fracking," has raised environmental concerns.

Approximately half of the national forest sits atop the Marcellus shale formation, a huge natural gas deposit running from New York State south to the Virginias.

Currently no drilling is conducted in the national forest, located in both Virginia and West Virginia.

The park's planning staff officer, Ken Langdorf, said the plan would also allow consideration of wind energy development in areas not deemed sensitive.

©2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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