Protesters Sit-in at Allegheny County Executive’s Office, Call on Him to Drop Plans to Frack Allegheny County Parks
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 21, 2013
Contact: Ashley Bittner 412-370-2310 or Patrick Young 412-298-6361
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Protesters sit-in at Fitzgerald’s office, call on him to drop plans to
frack County Parks
Part of a day of action against dirty energy in Pittsburgh
Monday October 21 – Pittsburgh – At around 12:30pm, 10 protesters began a
sit-in at the Allegheny County Courthouse, blocking the main hallway in
County Executive Rich Fitzgerald’s office suite. The protesters are calling
on Fitzgerald to drop plans to open up Allegheny County Parks for fracking.
The County Executive’s office is currently reviewing proposals from natural
gas drilling companies to lease the oil and gas rights under Deer Lakes
Park for fracking.
“Fitzgerald is trying to cut a deal with the natural gas industry without
seeking formal input from the residents of Allegheny County on this issue.
There is no public participation process, so we have to create it and
that’s what we’re doing today with this sit-in. We are bringing our message
straight to Fitzgerald that the residents of Allegheny county do not want
fracking in our parks.” said Ben Fiorillo of O’hara Township.
The sit-in is part of a day of action against dirty energy to culminate
the Power Shift conference. The sit-iners are joined by hundreds of
supporters from Power Shift who participated in an un-permitted march to
the County Courthouse following a rally on the North Shore’s Allegheny
Landing earlier this morning. The rally involved over 2,000 conference
participants who are calling for a rapid transition away from fossil fuels
including fracked natural gas. The marchers arrived to the courthouse
shortly after the sit-in began and are rallying outside in support.
Keith Brunner of Rising Tide Vermont was part of the support rally, “We
stand in solidarity with the Protect Our Parks campaign, knowing that this
fight is part of a much larger movement against all forms of fossil fuel
extraction which are devastating local communities and the climate.”
Opponents to the plan to frack the parks highlight the health and safety
risks associated with shale gas development.
“This plan will bring many more wells to the Deer Lakes area, and with it
heavy truck traffic, noise, stadium lighting, and air pollution, all of
which will impact park-goers and nearby residents, whether the well pads
are in the parks or not,” according to Jessica McPherson of Pittsburgh who
also joined the sit-in.
The three lakes which give Deer Lakes it’s name, are all fed by springs,
which could also be impacted by fracking under the parks.
McPherson continued, “What I’m most worried about is that fracking under
the park will contaminate the groundwater which feed these three lakes
These lakes are a destination for hundreds of local residents. An accident
like that could ruin this treasured fishing hole and expose park-goers to
dangerous fracking chemicals.”
The sit-iners say they will not leave the office unless they are removed
The day of action also included civil disobedience led by the Earth Quaker
Action Team at PNC bank branches throughout the city who are calling on the
bank to stop financing mountaintop removal coal mining.