Allegheny County Councilwoman proposes registry of natural gas drilling
An Allegheny County Councilwoman has introduced legislation she says will make it easier for the public to find out where fracking is occurring in the county.
Anita Prizio, D-O’Hara, introduced legislation during Tuesday’s meeting to require companies holding oil and gas leases to register the leases in a format that the public can see and is user friendly. It would create the Allegheny County Oil and Gas Lease Registry.
Since 2010, the Allegheny County Deeds Office has not input the the street addresses and parcel identification numbers of leased land, a news release from Prizio said.
“The lack of this critical information makes it virtually impossible for local governments to develop their state mandated comprehensive plans, and appropriate zoning ordinances,” Prizio said in a news release. “Public safety agencies can also use this information to appropriately plan for the impacts of drilling and fracking in Allegheny County.”
As of May, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued permits for 258 fracking wells in the county, up from just three in 2006, Prizio said in the release. More than half of the 258 wells are operating, while an additional 117 are yet to be drilled, the release said citing FracTracker Alliance, a nonprofit.
Several members of environmental groups and former Allegheny County Council President Jim Burn spoke in support of the legislation during Tuesday’s meeting.
“This is just a common sense piece of legislation in my opinion,” Burn told the council. “It’s simply asking if I go to the Allegheny County web page and I want to see in the borough of Millvale where I live … I can look to see where the pads are. I can see where it’s being done, if it’s being done. And if I’m thinking about investing in any specific community in this county, I think it’s a (relevant) piece of information I need to know. I think it’s a (relevant) piece of information for elected officials to know.”
The council Tuesday sent the legislation to its Committee on Government Reform. The committee could then send the legislation back to the full council for a vote.
Prizio said she hoped the rest of her colleagues would consider joining her in co-sponsoring the legislation — a request Burn echoed.
Theresa Clift is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Theresa at 412-380-5669, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @tclift.