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Allegheny County sets meetings on gas drilling in Deer Lakes Park

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 11:39 p.m.

The Allegheny County Council Parks Committee will hold three meetings this month to address issues surrounding a proposal to drill for natural gas under Deer Lakes Park.

The meetings will start at 5 p.m. and could be held in the Gold Room at the county courthouse, said council Vice President Nick Futules, D-Oakmont, chair of the Parks Committee.

A meeting on April 16 will address environmental and safety concerns. The April 23 session will deal with environmental issues. A meeting on April 30 will address economic factors.

Opponents to drilling under the 1,180-acre park in West Deer and Frazer have voiced concerns about similar topics at County Council meetings since August.

Protect Our Parks, a group urging council to vote against drilling in the park, will hold a meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday in East Liberty.

The County Council committee meetings will include experts on the topics, and council members will be able to ask questions. The public is invited but will not be able to speak, Futules said.

Councilwoman Sue Means, R-Bethel Park, asked Futules at a meeting on Wednesday if Canonsburg attorney John Smith would be able to address the committee. Smith argued objections to Act 13, the commonwealth's drilling law, before the state Supreme Court, causing the court to overturn portions of the law. He was scheduled to address the Education Committee in March, but that meeting was canceled.

Futules said he would consider inviting Smith.

Council will also hold a public hearing on the proposal at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Gold Room. Anyone who cannot attend but wishes to comment may send letters to the council's chief clerk, Jared Barker, at or to the courthouse at 436 Grant St., Room 119.

Aaron Aupperlee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-320-7986 or




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