Allegheny County Council members to seek say in natural gas drilling in parks
Some members of Allegheny County Council said they will make a final push on Tuesday to add the terms of an oil and gas lease to legislation that would permit drilling under Deer Lakes Park.
Amendments from two council members — Bill Robinson, D-Hill District, and Heather Heidelbaugh, R-Mt. Lebanon — would require the full lease between the county and Range Resources to be included in the legislation that leases the oil and gas rights and permits drilling under the 1,180-acre park in West Deer and Frazer.
Council is scheduled to vote on the agreement on Tuesday.
“It puts control over changes into council's hand as opposed to the county executive's,” Heidelbaugh said.
Council members have voiced concerns that authorizing drilling without including the full lease would allow county Executive Rich Fitzgerald and his successors to negotiate changes to the lease without seeking council's approval.
Council's parks committee amended the ordinance last week to include the financial terms, environmental and safety provisions and other key lease provisions. The amendments mean council's approval is needed to change those terms.
If approved, the county would receive $4.7 million upfront and 18 percent royalties, which could yield $3 million a year for 20 years.
Fitzgerald, who opposes including the full lease, stopped short of threatening a veto.
“Council, being a part-time body, doesn't have the time, doesn't have the inclination to get involved with the level of detail that you get into when you start to micromanage a lease,” Fitzgerald said.
For example, giving council such power could require a vote before allowing Range Resources onto park property to put out a fire, he said. Range isn't permitted inside the park's boundaries, and the lease says drilling on the surface of park property is not permitted.
In Washington County, the commissioners vote on changes or revisions to the lease between the county and Range Resources that allows drilling in Cross Creek Park, said Lisa Cessna, the county's planning commissioner. When the three commissioners approved drilling in the park, they voted twice: once to select the bidder and once to approve a lease.
Heidelbaugh's amendment includes additions to the lease based on a legal review she commissioned from Downtown law firm Strassburger McKenna Gutnick & Gefsky, including a provision that would prohibit Range Resources from using roads or water in the park.
Robinson's amendment requires Range Resources to develop a plan to hire women and minorities and to use Community College of Allegheny County for hiring and training.
Aaron Aupperlee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7986 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Rivals try to block Uber, Lyft in Pittsburgh
- UPMC workers’ compensation unit drops claim in Western Psych shooting
- Memorial for Hill District legend a ‘fitting’ service
- Newsmaker: Dr. Lisa M. Cibik
- Authorities identify man killed in second Northview Heights shooting
- Port Authority T line service to detour in South Hills this weekend
- Bus detours set for weekend East Busway construction
- Americans in N. Korea beg U.S. for help as trials on vague charges draw near
- Pitt’s new chancellor Gallagher to continue broad role at school
- Beloved teacher at 3 Western Pa. schools hears from students across nation
- Oakland eatery Fuel & Fuddle to reopen under new owners