Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald (Pittsburgh City Paper photo).
By Jamie Wiggan
PITTSBURGH — Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has vetoed two recent council bills limiting fracking in public parks and securing greater legislative oversight of executive hires.
Fitzgerald announced the vetoes during a press conference on Wednesday, where he defended his environmental record and voiced support for a subsequent bill he said would supersede the newly enforced fracking restrictions.
“There’s been no previous administration that has done more to deal with climate change and to deal with the environment than this administration has,” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald criticized the public parks bill as “political theater” which he said could be overridden with a simple majority vote even if his veto fails. Council approved the bill in question on July 5, where multiple residents spoke out in a show of support. Its language prohibits the county from entering leases on county parks for commercial or industrial uses.
Supporters of the bill point back to a 2014 agreement permitting drilling under Deer Lakes Park near Tarentum, which drew public backlash at the time.
Fitzgerald defended his record on Deer Lakes during Wednesday’s news conference, where he claimed the park surface was not disrupted by activity that took place on adjacent land and several thousand feet below the park.
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