These were the folks to win over. With drilling representatives looking on, Anthony and Rose Ann Sinagoga scrutinized the aerial map, tracing out the roads to their house in Findlay.
It's a home they've owned for more than 60 years, Mr. Sinagoga said proudly. And as Consol Energy Inc. unveiled new details Tuesday of its massive plan to drill for natural gas at Pittsburgh International Airport, the 81-year-old's top priority was to make sure their property wouldn't get left behind.
"We know there would be a lot of activity. We want to know how we're going to be affected," Mr. Sinagoga said. "We're trying to stay informed."
Earlier in the day, Consol joined government officials from Allegheny County and the Allegheny County Airport Authority in unveiling a detailed plan that will involve development on the airport's 9,263 acres through 2018.
The Cecil-based company said it plans to spend as much as $500 million to drill at least 47 shale gas wells and supporting facilities at the airport, with gas starting to flow in 2015.
The company plans to drill the horizontal Marcellus wells from six well pads, most of them close to the airport property border. It's still working to secure leases with private landowners around the periphery of the airport, officials said.
Joseph Zoka, general manager for central Pennsylvania operations with Consol's gas division, said once the company starts drilling it'll be able to assess if it makes sense to also drill Upper Devonian wells from the same pads during the development process. Those wells, several hundred feet above the Marcellus, also would be horizontal shale wells.
Drilling will begin in 2014 with some horizontal wells stretching out below runways.
After Tuesday's news conference, Consol and the airport authority held an open house of sorts in the nearby Marriott, inviting neighbors to talk with staff and examine the drilling plans. About 200 showed up over three hours, bringing questions about noise levels, truck traffic and water.
Most seemed satisfied enough. "I haven't had any question they couldn't answer," said Richard Evanko, 80, of Moon.
Allegheny County's top leadership would appear to agree. In February, county council gave the OK to Consol's lease, which included a $50 million bonus payment and an 18 percent cut of all gas sales. The county estimates those royalties will yield another $450 million in the next 20 years.
Airport officials are also positive, predicting airlines will take note of the development and the growing opportunities at Pittsburgh International.
"Airlines are starting to realize what's going on in Pittsburgh, and as the market grows [here], so do they," said Brad Penrod, CEO of the Allegheny County Airport Authority.
Consol says all wells are a safe distance away from runways and other airport operations, although the Federal Aviation Administration still has to sign off on the operation.
The company and the airport authority are drafting an environmental assessment document to submit to the FAA before the end of the year. Then Consol can start thinking about bidding the construction and infrastructure work in store, Mr. Zoka said.
Included in that work will be the construction of 17 miles of gas pipelines, 12 miles of water lines and three water impoundments, which are giant, open pits where the company will store both fresh water and reusable flowback water.
Consol said it's still talking with Findlay and Moon townships to provide municipal water for the gas operation at the airport. There is also a proposed 6-mile transmission line that Consol would build to bring the gas produced at the airport to pipelines that can take it to market.
Another public meeting will likely be held in mid-November.
The Sinagogas spent half an hour quizzing Consol's representatives. Then they left, but not before disclosing another reason Mr. Sinagoga was anxious to take a look at the map:
"They want to lease our property, too," he said.