FRANKLIN PARK (KDKA) — Shale Gas drilling rigs have sprouted up throughout the region in recent years, but few companies have actually drilled inside Allegheny County.
A groundswell movement of folks in Franklin Park are opposing the drilling of a new well in adjoining Economy, Beaver County.
“There will be a significant amount of gases released at the well sites that will drift into Franklin Park and potentially cause respiratory problems and other health problems,” resident Robert Davis said.
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The Franklin Park Borough Council was set to vote to approve a lease with the PennEnergy Resources gas exploration company Wednesday night, allowing their fracking laterals to burrow under Franklin Park and frack the shale rock strata below. But, the proposal was facing headwinds and residents like Davis say not so fast.
“They are ignoring the will of the people and are trying to rush this through six days before Christmas when they know that people are going to be busy with their holiday activities,” Davis said.
The resident said they would show up in large numbers Wednesday to ask council to deny the lease, which would allow PennEnergy to tunnel underneath Linbrook Park. While PennEnergy did not return phones calls requesting an interview, environmentalist Doug Shields of the Food and Water Watch says council has over-stepped its authority.
“This park belongs to the public. It is not there for the council or any other entity to do with it what it will. The council has not consulted with the community. There have not been public hearings,” Shields said.
Franklin Park Council decided at Wednesday’s meeting to table a vote on whether to allow fracking underneath the borough.
The issue was postponed to a meeting on Jan. 14.
But, the crowd of about 200 people who had jam-packed the meeting room still wanted to speak out.
“I will not hesitate to move out of this borough if this decision goes forward,” one man said.
At least one man spoke out in favor of the idea.
“I think this an opportunity for Franklin Park to do something very safe and possibly get enough money to do a lot of good things for this community,” he said.
Many more voiced concerns about the proposal.
The crowd clapped loudly after one man ended his remarks with this: “I’m sure it’s a lot of money, but please don’t sell your soul!”