Proposal to drill under Deer Lakes Park headed to Allegheny County Council

by: Aaron Aupperlee, TribLIVE Updated:

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WEST DEER, Pa. - Allegheny County Council Vice President Nick Futules said a preliminary agreement that, if approved, would permit energy company Range Resources to drill for natural gas under Deer Lakes Park will be introduced at Tuesday's regular County Council meeting.

(This article was written by Aaron Aupperlee, a staff writer for Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE.)

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced terms of the agreement on Monday during a news conference.

Fitzgerald's office said the proposal contains a $4.7 million bonus payment, $3 million for a Park Improvement Fund and 18 percent in royalties, which would go to the county for the duration of the lease.

“The county's participation in this makes this a win-win for the community,” Fitzgerald said in a statement. “We are enhancing assurances for our residents, enhancing revenues for the county as well as the private land owners, and enhancing our community through the park improvements that can be made with these revenues.”

The lease would prohibit any operations from occurring in Deer Lakes Park, Fitzgerald's office said.

Futules, D-Oakmont, and other members of the council met privately with Fitzgerald on Monday to hear an update on negotiations.

Futules, the chair of the parks committee, said the drilling proposal would go through a committee review and public hearing process before a vote by council to accept or reject it.

Fitzgerald said a public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. April 2 at Deer Lakes High School.

Range Resources and Huntley & Huntley submitted the lone proposal to drill under the park from well pads outside its boundaries.

For more than six months, some residents have voiced their opposition to the drilling in West Deer and Frazer during County Council meetings.