County must plan to benefit from drilling
You don't have to look far to see Pennsylvania counties, boroughs, townships and municipalities benefiting from Marcellus Shale development in ways not seen for generations.
The prospect of rapid economic growth can be disorienting. But now, more than ever, we as a region need to think, plan and act in ways that position Allegheny County to benefit in both the short term and long term as the promised economic bounty of the Marcellus Shale arrives.
First, we must capture the full range of job opportunities associated with the shale opportunity, with the vast majority of jobs going to Allegheny County residents. Both U.S. Steel's Tubular Operations in McKeesport and Dura-Bond Coating of Duquesne and McKeesport are wonderful, but not isolated, examples of the opportunities ahead.
In addition to ancillary businesses and jobs, the shale opportunity can provide a financial platform for sustained economic growth. For example, Forward Township will receive a one-time payment of $163,000 and 12 percent royalty payments as a result of an agreement with EQT. Impact fees are also expected to generate as much as $500,000 annually for the township.
Two communities, White Oak and McKeesport, have agreements with Penneco that will bring 12.5 percent royalty payments to each, along with impact fees.
To develop and execute a thoughtful extraction strategy that leads to long-term benefits, the region needs to work together. If we think, plan and act together toward a common vision, ours can be a story of shared and sustained economic ascendancy.
The writer is the District 9 Allegheny County Councilman, representing parts of the South Hills.
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