75 sign up for meeting on gas drilling at Deer Lakes Park

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Seventy-five people have signed up to speak Wednesday night  at a meeting about Allegheny County's plan to drill for natural gas beneath Deer Lakes Park, according to a county spokeswoman.

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald is hosting the meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of Deer Lakes High School, located at 163 E. Union Road in West Deer.

The meeting is expected to begin with comments from Mr. Fitzgerald and then from Range Resources.

Members of the public will be allotted three minutes each for their comments.

Advance sign-up to speak at the meeting has concluded, but people can still sign up to speak at the meeting, according to the county's website.

The meeting will conclude at 11 p.m. at the latest, which the county said is the ending time set by the school district.

The meeting was set last month, after Mr. Fitzgerald held a news conference to announce that an agreement had been reached between the county and companies Range Resources and Huntley & Huntley to drill for natural gas.

No drilling operations will take place on Deer Lakes Park, but instead horizontal wells will extend from three well pads on private property.

Deer Lakes is a 1,180-acre county-owned park that covers parts of both Frazer and West.

The proposed lease agreement, which will be officially introduced at Allegheny County Council's April 8 meeting, calls for Range to pay the county a $4.7 million bonus payment, with another $3 million that will go directly to improvements in the county park system.

Range will also pay the county 18 percent royalties.

The lease can be found here: http://www.alleghenycounty.us/executive/index.aspx

Kaitlynn Riely: kriely@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1707.

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