Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has said that he will not support a moratorium on drilling in Allegheny County to protect our parks because he will "lose a seat at the table." It is a spurious argument, however. As county executive he certainly has a place at the table if he chooses to ask for it, regardless of the property ownership.
I am asking for a more proactive position in defense of the public interest. I am asking for a convening of a strategic development process that sets out some guidelines and organizes how this development goes forward in the Allegheny County area, if at all. Rather than have random drilling occur any place any private entity decides to do it, on behalf of the public interest he is supposed to represent he should have some guidance for this development -- such as not in parks; not in residential, historical or cultural areas; not near schools, hospitals, densely populated commercial areas; not in watersheds. Is the industry to receive unfettered leave to run rampant over our community?
Surely there are industrial areas, former industrial areas and areas where industrial activity can help improve the economy without causing degradation of our quality of life. Please, look forward to the well-being of all the people of this county, not just the private interests of the few.
Many of these developers do not even have interests in the United States but serve multinational companies where the primary profits inure to stakeholders far from here. They don't care about our parks, neighborhoods or future water supplies -- but the county executive elected to serve the people's interest should care!
Mr. Fitzgerald, whom do you really represent? Please, stand with the people! Be a leader and an advocate for the public interest over private greed.