Fifty-nine residents signed up to speak at the Allegheny County Council meeting on April 8 when an ordinance to grant County Executive Fitzgerald permission to negotiate the leasing of the mineral rights beneath Deer Lakes county park was on the agenda. Four speakers supported this leasing for fracking beneath the park – all four to some degree beneficiaries of the fracking industry. The remaining host of speakers each took their allotted three minutes to explain to Council in sometimes passionate, often humorous, but always in a well-reasoned manner, just exactly why fracking of any of our nine county parks is a bad idea.
After more than three hours of citizen testimony it was Council’s turn to discuss how to handle the ordinance. It appears that the steady drumbeat of citizen concern since last August is paying off. Nick Futules announced that there will be a public hearing on April 15 followed by Park Committee meetings.
LATE NOTE: The tenor of the Parks Committee meetings has been set by Committee Chairman Futules’ choice of pro-industry experts and exclusion of independent experts. Citizens are urged to monitor these meetings and take notes.