The state House of Representatives approved a measure recently that could allow for drilling to extract oil, gas, coal, and limestone on the State System of High Education college campuses.
The chamber voted 131-68. The legislation will allow the state Department of General Services to lease land at colleges within the State System of Higher Education or on other state-owned properties.
The state already has about 600,000 acres of forestland available for gas drilling, but the legislation would expand drilling possibilities to such areas as land surrounding state prisons.
Colleges that allow gas drilling would be able to keep 40 percent of any royalties, with the remainder to be distributed among State System colleges with no mineral deposits. Fifteen percent of the royalty dollars must be devoted to reducing tuition costs.
The measure received support and opposition. Supporters said it would be a potential source of revenue, while opponents argued that the drilling would be a distraction to the educational process.
The proposal awaits a final vote in the Senate.