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BLM Schedules Second Lease Sale For Ohio National Forest Land

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has scheduled another competitive oil and gas lease sale for land in Ohio's Wayne National Forest, a month after it leased about 682 acres there for roughly $1.7 million in a controversial auction.

BLM announced the sale last week, saying it would offer 21 parcels across 1,186 acres in Monroe County. The internet sale is scheduled for Thursday, March 23 at 8 a.m. EST on energynet.com.

Eclipse Resources Corp., Gulfport Energy Corp., Flat Rock Development LLC and Petrogas Co. bid successfully during the bureau's December lease sale. That auction was controversial and attracted a petition signed by tens of thousands of people and administrative protests from environmental groups that tried to stop it. BLM originally offered 1,600 acres across 33 parcels, but ultimately auctioned 17 because some of the land was already leased or land records needed to be checked.

BLM said in 2015 that it was considering leasing about 18,000 acres that the oil and gas industry had nominated for development in the forest. The bureau issued a final environmental assessment for the the larger Marietta Unit, which consists of 40,000 acres in Monroe, Washington and Noble counties that could ultimately be leased. After years of delays, BLM said in October that it would proceed with last month's lease sale.

BLM posted notice of the March auction on its website last week that identifies the parcels in which the government owns all of the mineral interests and those where it owns less than 100%. More than 200 Utica Shale permits have been issued in Monroe County.

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