Chattanooga could be a hotspot for fracking

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- New state rules for hydraulic fracturing of rock to release natural gas have come about as interest builds in tapping the Chattanooga Shale formation.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported a half-dozen drilling companies have looked at property leases and mineral rights in Hamilton County. A spokeswoman with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation said no permits have been granted and none are pending locally for the so-called "fracking" method of drilling.

Industry officials say fracking does not endanger the water supply and say there is a lot of hysteria about the practice.

But UTC biology professor Henry Spratt was preparing Monday to speak to a Sierra Club meeting about his concerns. Spratt pointed to Pennsylvania, where he said some wells are so polluted they can catch fire.

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