The East Pittsburgh Zoning and Hearing Board announced this evening that it was rejecting a permit appeal from Merrion Oil & Gas, the company seeking to drill a fracking well at the US Steel plant.
The decision (a 3-2 vote) likely marks the final word on a well project that drew intense community opposition, led by groups like North Braddock Residents For Our Future. The well has long been championed by Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman.
“Communities that have been hard hit by fossil fuel pollution in our state have been raising hell to stop projects like this fracking well because we are sick and tired of our lives being put on the line in order to make profits for giant corporations,” said Megan McDonough, Pennsylvania Organizing Manager at the group Food & Water Action. “Not only had Merrion never drilled a well in Pennsylvania, they could not even fill out the permit paperwork correctly. Powerful political forces in our state were determined to let them get their way, though. They were stopped by community leaders who fought them every step of the way.”
The Merrion well proposal has been riddled with problems from the very beginning. Merrion Oil & Gas made a series of errors in its permit applications, and local officials failed to hold required public hearings before other permits were granted. When the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) held a meeting in March of 2019, opponents of well came out in force to denounce the project.