The U.S. Forest Service announced Monday that it will allow fracking in the Wayne National Forest in southeast Ohio. The announcement hit about the same time that Republicans in Tampa were blasting President Obama for not allow more of the shale drilling on public lands. They also were going over polls and strategies that suggest Mitt Romney could swing Ohio by backing more drilling. Kellyann Conway of Polling Group Inc. said Ohioans are three times more likely to vote for a politician who backs more drilling.
In its announcement, the Forest Service says the Wayne forest’s management plan could adequately address any damage and risks from the drilling and there is no need for a new environmental study. Environmental groups say the plan never contemplated the fracking, and Athens County, Ohio University and the city of Athens oppose it.
Republicans, including Senate candidate Josh Mandel, have dismissed the critics as extremists.