Drilling under Pittsburgh-area park approved 9-5

OIL-DRILLING-GAS-PA-PENNSYLVANIA

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Council members in western Pennsylvania have approved a plan to drill for natural gas under a Pittsburgh-area park.

The Allegheny County Council voted 9-5 early Wednesday to allow energy companies Range Resources and Huntley & Huntley to extract natural gas from beneath 1,180-acre Deer Lakes Park from well sites on neighboring private properties.

The proposal includes a $4.7 million bonus for the county, a $3 million donation to a park improvement fund and 18 percent royalties that county officials estimate would generate $3 million.

Range Resources said the wells could produce natural gas for 30 to 40 years with about half the production occurring in the first eight years.

The vote followed seven hours of testimony and debate. Afterward, some opponents shouted “Shame!” at council members.

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