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Allegheny County details what it wants from Deer Lakes Park drilling

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Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, 1:27 p.m.

Allegheny County placed vigorous environmental requests on companies bidding to drill for natural gas under Deer Lakes Park, an industry expert said.

A request for proposals released Friday by the county asked companies to describe how they would contain wastewater, test water before, during and after drilling, and control stormwater runoff and prevent erosion. It also requested that companies have environmental and liability insurance.

“The environmental protections seem pretty vigorous to me,” wrote Steven Baicker-McKee, an assistant professor of law at Duquesne University with 25 years of private practice handling environmental and energy-related litigation. “It certainly helps the county protect the park and the county's resources.”

Environmental and financial requests included in the 118-page document may keep smaller companies from bidding, Baicker-McKee said. Insurance requirements could cause a company to withhold some revenue in the event it had to pay a claim.

The request for proposals weighed environmental protection and potential revenue equally.

Huntley & Huntley approached the county to drill under Deer Lakes from wellheads outside park boundaries. The county could receive $40 million to $96 million in revenue if it decides to allow drilling, a Tribune-Review analysis found.

Bids are due to the county Oct. 25. The county hopes to award a contract in January. County Council must approve the bid.

Council Vice President Nicholas Futules, D-Oakmont, chair of the parks committee, said he asked the county to include some of the environmental provisions.

“I had concerns about the environmental controls because it's county land, and I thought we should go above and beyond industry standards,” Futules said.

Staff writerTim Puko contributed to this report. Aaron Aupperlee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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