In 2010 my neighborhood was inundated with "land men" trying to get unsuspecting homeowners to lease their property for hydraulic fracturing, aka fracking. We were befuddled; few of us had any knowledge of what fracking is.
During the intervening years we have learned, all too well, what fracking is -- how it is destroying air and water in shale field communities across Pennsylvania and around the globe. At this time no one can guarantee the safety of fracking or any of its related processes. And yet some would plunge the drills and pipes into our county parks without a moment's hesitation.
The drilling lease for the airport was a done deal well before the single, solitary faux public hearing was held on the topic. We are resolved not to let that happen again. Thankfully Allegheny County Councilwoman Barbara Daly Danko has stepped up and crafted a three-year fracking moratorium for the parks.
The three years would give county council the time to fully investigate every side of the issue, to gather and weigh experts' facts, to learn from places like Dallas, Texas, which just banned all fracking in its parks. The moratorium would also give council time to consider alternative, sustainable energy sources.
The Marcellus Shale has been under our feet for 400 million years. It is not going anywhere, regardless of the false sense of urgency that County Executive Rich Fitzgerald is striving to give it. The county executive is not given the authority to contract our public lands; that rests with the council.
Let us give council the time it needs to make an informed decision, one that will serve us and future generations.