Statement from Pittsburgh Works on Allegheny County Hearing, Legislation to Ban Drilling

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June 10, 2022 | Pittsburgh Works Together

Statement from Pittsburgh Works on Allegheny County Hearing,  Legislation to Ban Drilling

Pittsburgh, Pa - Pittsburgh Works Together, a coalition of labor unions and corporations including the energy and gas industries, supports County Executive Rich Fitzgerald’s opposition to a bill that would ban gas drilling in county parks.

Everyone agrees that drilling and fracking should be done in a way that minimizes emissions and protects the environment. Responsible companies in the natural gas industry have shown that they do so. Yet this ordinance would handcuff elected officials of Allegheny County, including the members of the Allegheny County Council, by limiting access to one of the most valuable natural resources in the world.

The industry has demonstrated that it can safely extract the gas beneath county park land without disturbing the public’s enjoyment of that land. At the same time, it is providing millions of dollars to improve park operations and keep county property taxes as low as possible. The extraction of natural gas beneath Deer Lakes Park, which has not disturbed one square inch of parkland, has provided more than $15 million to Allegheny County since 2014. Not only was the surface not disturbed, but the air and water monitoring which Allegheny County negotiated to include as part of the Deer Lakes lease, provided verifiable data that this development occurred while protecting the air and water resources of the county.

The same is true at Pittsburgh International Airport where agreements executed by the Airport Authority to allow drilling on some of the thousands of acres at the airport have saved the airport and have put it on path to be a significant economic generator for the region. As County Executive Fitzgerald noted, without these agreements the airport, “would have been bankrupt. There would be no flights, no cargo coming in or out, no reimagining of an airport to serve Pittsburgh, no dynamic leader, no Neighborhood 91 to further spur economic activity there, and no opportunity for continued economic growth.”

The United States leads the world in reducing carbon emissions over the past decade on the strength of Appalachian natural gas. At the same time, air quality across the country and in Allegheny County has and continues to improve as the use of natural gas as the primary fuel for electricity production has increased.

Contact: Jeff Nobers | 412-977-1263

Below is a PDF version of the above press release.

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Jeff Nobers | Executive Director |
Ken Zapiniski | Director of Research and Public Policy |
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