Allegheny council committee approves drilling at airport
Gas drilling at Pittsburgh International Airport could get final approval next week because an Allegheny County Council committee on Thursday voted in support of a deal with Consol Energy Inc.
Council's Public Works Committee voted to approve the estimated $500 million deal with four members in favor, one opposed and one abstaining.
Supporters said they felt confident that county and Airport Authority officials were working effectively with Consol to secure a good deal, to plan for safe work at the site and to use the money to boost economic development near the airport.
“Marcellus shale drilling is just another part of life that we have to move forward economically,” said County Council Vice President Nicholas Futules, D-Oakmont, echoing comments of other supporters. “The environmental part of what could happen is something that we have to understand. We're preparing for that.”
Along with Futules, Democrats Robert J. Macey of West Mifflin, Barbara Daly Danko of Regent Square and Michael J. Finnerty of Scott voted in favor. William Robinson, D-Hill District, voted no, and Republican Matt Drozd of Ross abstained.
Six anti-drilling protesters sat in the front row, holding heart-shaped signs that said: “Love your children & grandchildren vote no on fracking.”
The Airport Authority in December chose Cecil-based Consol to drill on about 9,000 acres of land at the Findlay airport. County and airport officials spent years debating and plotting how to profit from the gas-rich shale under their land. That could come to an end at council's regular meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, when the full council plans to take a final vote.
Federal rules require the money to stay at the airport, preventing the county from getting any of the gas royalties and land bonuses, a sticking point for Robinson. He said county officials misrepresented the deal's value to the county government — which owns the airport land — and had trouble voting for it if the county budget couldn't benefit.
Consol and the Airport Authority will host one more session before voting, an open house to talk about the safety risks and precautions, said Dennis Davin, director of county economic development and the Airport Authority's board treasurer. It is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Monday in the Findlay Township Activity Center, 310 Main St.
Even with final approval, drilling is unlikely to start before summer 2014, with production opening in 2016, officials have said.
Timothy Puko is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 4-year-old transplant recipient Angelo Giorno dies, hospital says
- Steelers laud decision, praise Brady for taking on Goodell
- With most starters resting, Steelers turn in lackluster loss at Heinz
- Dozen injured when dump truck rear-ends Port Authority bus near Rankin Bridge
- Experts warn Kane’s Haiti trip might jeopardize any case from 2014 wiretap
- Vick supporters, opponents demonstrate before Steelers’ game, but coexist
- Steelers notebook: Thomas, Moats only starting defensive players to see action vs. Panthers
- Gay couple receives marriage license from controversial Ky. clerk’s office
- Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto: Public has stake in Penguins
- Judge will not recuse himself from Scaife case
- Liriano struggles as Brewers complete sweep of Pirates