Your Sept. 16 editorial "Delay Tactic: The County Doesn't Need a Park Drilling Moratorium" incorrectly portrays Allegheny County Councilwoman Barbara Daly Danko's legislation as "kicking the can down the road." I don't believe you would draw this conclusion if you had carefully read the legislation prior to writing the editorial.
This legislation provides council sufficient time to fully understand the risks associated with shale gas drilling in our valuable parks. Drilling in our parks, places for relaxation and recreation, is not the same as drilling at the international airport, an industrial site. Despite that difference, note that council made the regrettable decision to drill at the airport in haste and with little public input. I am certain all council members do not want to make that mistake again.
An additional issue raised in Ms. Danko's resolution is who has the authority over land use decisions -- council or the county executive. She also points out that although the right of municipalities to control how safely shale gas drilling might be undertaken has been affirmed by the Supreme Court, an appeal is pending. Furthermore, the state Department of Environmental Protection will shortly release new regulations that apply to approving permits for drilling in our parks or leasing the mineral rights. It makes sense for council to await these decisions, significant factors in their deliberations. The shale gas beneath these parks is not going anywhere, the drillers are not going anywhere and the one-time money is not going anywhere. So why the rush?
On behalf of the Allegheny Group of the Sierra Club, I applaud Councilwoman Danko for introducing this resolution. She has provided council with an opportunity to bring evidence-based information to its deliberations. All council members should vote for the moratorium.
Allegheny Group Sierra Club