Republicans (!) Seek to Slow Approval of Deer Lakes Park Lease?

To us, a somewhat strange case in the ongoing effort for Allegheny County, PA to lease land under Deer Lakes Park for drilling. Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald squeezed Range Resources hard and negotiated a deal to allow Range to drill under (not on) Deer Lakes Park for a $4.7 million in signing bonus and 18% royalties, which will net the county something over $70 million over the next 20-30 years (see Allegheny Co Exec Bests Range on Deer Lakes Park Lease Deal). It’s a sweet deal. The only thing that remains is for the 15-member county council to approve it.

The strange part is a bid by a pair of Republicans to enlist outside legal counsel to review the lease–when council already has its own attorney for that purpose. Normally it’s the Republicans who are pro-drilling. The effort to get outside counsel, which failed in committee along a party-line vote of 5-2, is nothing more than a “stall tactic” according to Rich Fitzgerald. That’s the strange part–why would the Republicans want to delay this lease? Council will meet next Wednesday to take up the Deer Lakes Park lease again–hopefully to approve it…

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