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New Study Looks at Future of Appalachian Energy DevelopmentA new study and online mapping tool released by the Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) and The Nature Conservancy provides needed information to inform discussions
among conservation organizations, policy makers, regulators, industry, and the public on how to protect essential natural resources while realizing the benefits of increased domestic energy production. The study and online mapping tool were developed by Nature Conservancy researchers through a grant from the Appalachian LCC. The research assessed energy development potential and trends of wind, shale gas, and coal and yielded a tool that shows where these may overlap with important natural resources and associated benefits, such as municipal drinking water supplies, giving a full picture of what future energy development could look like in the Central and Southern Appalachians.
Key findings include:
- Nearly 7.6 million acres (an area larger than the state of Massachusetts) of new energyDrelated development may expand across the Appalachian region by 2035;
- An estimated 5.3 million acres (roughly the size of New Jersey) of energy!related development is most likely to occur in forested areas;
- More than 150 watersheds, which are reliant on forest cover to produce clean water to major cities and communities, occur in these same areas; and
- Future energy development will most likely be concentrated in the Allegheny and Cumberland Plateaus.