300 attend open house on Consol drilling plans at Pittsburgh airport
Consol Energy, a company with about 100 years of Pittsburgh history, is treating Allegheny County like a brand-new home.
On the verge of striking a $500 million deal for gas drilling on county property, the Cecil-based company held an open house on Monday night that attracted about 300 people to the Findlay Township Activity Center to learn about Consol's plan to drill at Pittsburgh International Airport.
The company posted more than 40 employees in red polo shirts outside of the hall to answer questions and hand out fliers. It based the meeting on five open houses the company held a year ago in Ohio before tapping gas-rich Utica shale.
With large-scale drilling moving closer to the region's urban core, more people are interested in how it will work, said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.
“They all told me just what I wanted to hear,” said Joe Berreth, 54, of Findlay. “I just wanted to see what they were going to do. Would they hurt the land, the water, the air? They tell me no. Do I believe them? Well, I hope they're right.”
The meeting fit an ongoing effort by drillers around the country with a revolution in domestic oil and gas production under way.
Everywhere drillers go, people have questions, said Craig Neal, a vice president in Consol's gas division. Companies have tried to engage residents and to make corporate officials available to calm fears about environmental and public safety risks.
County Council plans to vote at its 5 p.m. meeting Tuesday on a deal that would allow the county Airport Authority to lease mineral rights to Consol. The company would pay a $50 million up-front bonus to the authority and royalties over several years that could total hundreds of millions of dollars.
County officials have been pushing the plan as a way to upgrade airport-controlled land for more commerce and office developments.
It could even help the environment, said Mark A. Fedosick, president of the Montour Run Watershed Association. Officials there hope Consol will use mine drainage for the millions of gallons of water it will need to use to drill at the airport, helping to clear up a decades-old pollution problem, he said.
Several residents were concerned about well pads within about 1,000 feet of residential neighborhoods. Others are still upset at the county for taking land to build the airport.
“I'm afraid the residents of Findlay are not going to get the revenue that they should,” said Mike Leber, 60, whose family has lived in the township since 1816. County and airport officials need to spend the money fairly, and Consol has to back up its claims of responsible, safe work, he said.
“They have a lot of pamphlets and brochures ... and I'm all for drilling — don't misunderstand me — but this is all for show,” Leber said.
Timothy Puko is a staff writer for Tr ib Total Media. He can be r eached at 412-320-7991 or email@example.com.
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.
- Wedding aboard Pittsburgh’s Gateway Clipper ends in arrests
- Trac Fabrication all-terrain wheelchairs open world for disabled
- Revenue from special Pennsylvania Monuments license plates to help maintain monuments at Gettysburg
- Pennsylvania amusement ride website leaves readers hanging
- Pittsburgh police force’s diversity worsens since ACLU filed discrimination lawsuit in 2012
- Family of Children’s Hospital transplant baby urges feds to change cochlear implants policy
- TED Talks event to appeal to Pittsburgh millenials
- Allegheny County’s crime lab ranks up there with world’s best
- Newsmaker: Rebecca Lane
- Monroeville firefighters hope hot photo calendar will help raise money
- Scientists dismiss dire outlook for Western Pennsylvania winter weather