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Fracking in East Tennessee?

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Graphic by Laura McNutt/Times Free Press Graphic by Laura McNutt/Times Free Press

CHATTANOOGA, TN (Times Free Press) -- East Tennessee in coming years may find itself front and center in the growing debate over fracking — the hydraulic or nitrogen gas fracturing of shale rock deep underground to free natural gas.

The region -- with Chattanooga at nearly dead center -- sits atop a layer, or "play" in driller language, of shale known as Chattanooga Shale.

No fewer than six natural gas drilling companies in recent years have looked at mineral rights and property leases in the Chattanooga Shale play to hunt for their next stake. Members of environmental groups speculate that a drilling lease already has been made in eastern or northern Hamilton County, based on industry blogs.

But the debate is not simple. Water wells and supplies in some states have become polluted with methane and drilling pollutants, so safe answers are complicated.

Read more from our news partners at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.


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