EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a view from atop Mount Cheaha, the highest point in Alabama at 2,407 feet above sea level. If a plan goes forward to lease virtually all of the land in this view to a mining company like Halliburton for natural gas drilling, this public land set aside for future generations to enjoy as a tourism destination could be ruined forever by hydraulic fracking. We are still waiting on the numbers from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to complete a major story and video on the potential environmental and human health harm that could come if this plan goes through. We are also still waiting on the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service to announce when and where they plan to hold a “public meeting” to discuss this plan in light of our objections to the leases in the absence of public transparency and the Southern Environmental Law Center’s intent to sue to stop fracking in the national forest if the federal government tried to go forward with selling the leases on this land to the highest bidder. While a forest management plan agreed to by the Bush administration in 2004 allows for leasing all this land to developers for natural gas drilling, it is our contention that such a move would would be a violation of the original intent of setting aside the land in the first place. It would also be a crime against nature, considering all the information that has come to light about the problems associated with fracking. We will have much more to say about this in the new year. But for now, enjoy the views of the area from nature photographer Kenny Walters. Here’s hoping these views will not be spoiled by the cheap development of this forest for a few bucks for the national treasury at the expense of far more tourism dollars if the land were to be preserved rather than developed.
All photos copyright Kenny Walters
© 2012, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved. The Locust Fork News-Journal, LocustFork.Net