For some counties, gas drilling brings a windfall

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 12, 2014 at 1:23 pm •  Published: January 12, 2014
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PITTSBURGH (AP) — Even as some cities around the nation have voted to ban fracking for natural gas, other rural areas are quietly embracing the boom by allowing drilling under public parks and land, and reaping millions.

In Washington County, just outside Pittsburgh, officials say more than $10 million in drilling-related payments since 2007 has helped them build fishing piers, playgrounds and walking trails.

Lisa Cessna, the executive director of the local planning commission, says the county has leases that give them control over many aspects of the drilling process. Cessna says that while some people have complained, the benefits outweigh the negatives.

Some environmentalists are still worried about the precedent.

John Norbeck, the vice president for PennFuture, says parks are special places. His group doesn't believe drilling should be allowed there.