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Proposal to drill in West Deer and Frazer draws comments from both sides

Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 11:15 p.m.

Allegheny County Council on Tuesday heard from nearly 50 speakers about a proposal to drill for natural gas under Deer Lakes Park in West Deer and Frazer.

Energy companies Range Resources and Huntley & Huntley want to drill under the 1,180-acre park from well pads outside the boundary.

The county would receive $4.7 million in upfront payments, a $3 million donation to a park improvement fund and 18 percent royalties over the life of the wells, according to a proposed lease.

“I don't want my future Allegheny County to be a fracked Allegheny County, especially not my parks and public lands,” said Nicholas Goodfellow, a junior at the University of Pittsburgh who wants to stay in the county after he graduates.

Many of those who spoke in favor of the proposal touted the jobs natural gas development has brought to the region and the financial gain drilling under the park could bring to the county.

“The natural gas is here. Let's extract it and do what we have to do with it to move this economy forward,” said William Brooks of Carnegie.

State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Dravosburg, spoke in favor of the proposal, calling it “safe and responsible.”

Opponents expressed concern over recent accidents related to Marcellus shale development, including a three-truck crash on Monday in Washington County that spilled fracking wastewater and diesel fuel.

Council's Parks Committee will hold a meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the courthouse that will include a presentation from Range Resources and a panel to answer legal questions about the lease and proposal. Council could vote on the proposal as soon as next month.

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




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