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County mum on bids for drilling at Deer Lakes Park

| Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, 10:14 p.m.

Allegheny County officials clammed up Friday, refusing to say how many companies responded to a request for bids to drill for natural gas under Deer Lakes Park.

Though officials set that day as the deadline, county spokeswoman Amie Downs said in an email that they wouldn't make public any information about proposals or the status of any negotiations. That's consistent with the bidding process, she said.

Opponents of drilling under county parks have criticized County Executive Rich Fitzgerald for holding private meetings with gas companies and a lack of transparency in the process.

The county asked for proposals on Sept. 27, noting companies should detail plans to control wastewater, test water before, during and after drilling and prevent stormwater runoff and erosion.

Monroeville-based Huntley & Huntley Inc. approached the county to drill under Deer Lakes from wellheads outside park boundaries.

The county potentially could get $40 million to $96 million if it allows drilling, a Tribune-Review analysis found.

The idea of drilling under the park in West Deer and Frazier drew protest from environmental groups. About 30 people staged a sit-in at Fitzgerald's office during demonstrations across the city at the conclusion of last weekend's Power Shift 2013 conference.

Aaron Aupperlee is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7986 or aaupperlee@tribweb.com.

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