Marcellus Shale protest groups gathered at Allegheny County Council’s meeting at the County Courthouse Tuesday evening to voice their concerns to council members and to call for a public hearing. Council agreed to do so and scheduled the hearing for March 10 at 5 p.m. in the Gold Room of the Courthouse.
Elizabeth Schneider of Marcellus Protest requested that all thirteen members be in attendance for the entirety of the hearing.
“This is a very, very important issue and your constituency deserves full attention as elected officials,” Schneider says. “Part time job or not your have three weeks to clear your schedules, 1.2 million people’s future depend on it.”
Not all council members attended the last public hearing on the issue in July.
Many constituents expressed concern about the effect drilling might have on water quality, and the health effects of chemicals that may become present as a result of drilling. The majority of those who spoke last night considered it a lapse in thought by council to consider allowing the Southwestern Pennsylvania region to fall into a similar polluting trend as those that the turn of the century steel mills produced.
Bradley Wilson said it is against Pittsburgh’s “green” standards to move forward with potentially polluting drilling.
“It is amazing to me that in this so called age of the green revolution in which we find ourselves building green arenas and convention centers, how quickly we fall into old industrial habits,” Wilson says. “We found a way to extract gas and generate a lot of money and jobs for the region, but this is a problem. It always is about money and jobs first, and about environment and our health second.”
The residents also spoke of the need to maintain the 2000 foot area between drilling wells and public residences should drilling not be halted altogether. There are proposals for 200 or 500 foot minimum distances from residences.