Fracking wells at the Pittsburgh airport? Sure — what could go wrong?
Here’s a great idea: You have a fairly new and extremely unregulated technology that’s used to extract a natural resource with a known tendency toward explosion. Why not install that technology at a major international airport?
Alright – to be fair, applying the title of “major international airport” to Pittsburgh International Airport is a bit of a stretch these days. If you’re going by The New York Times’ description of its once-great terminals, it’s about two tumbleweeds shy of American ghost town candidacy. When US Airways abandoned PIT as a hub in 2004, its annual traffic dropped from 21 million passengers in 1997 to eight million in 2013. The airport is broke.
As has become business as usual in Pennsylvania, PIT has turned to the massive deposits of natural gas buried under its runways as a source of revenue. Consol Energy will set up a well right alongside the airport parking lot this month. The gas deposits themselves lie roughly a mile directly underneath the airport.
From The New York Times:
“It’s like finding money,” said Rich Fitzgerald, the county executive of Allegheny County, which owns the airport. “Suddenly you’ve got this valuable asset that nobody knew was there.”
As was made abundantly clear by the Times’ income-focused coverage, this has been painted as an economic boon for the county with no mention of the potential health and environmental hazards associated with fracking. But that policy has worked out great for Pennsylvania so far, so why not run with it?
The real potential for crisis, however, lies in endangering one of the state’s greatest monuments, which can be found opposite the airport TGI Friday’s. I’m talking about George Washington, our nation’s founding father, standing proudly next to Franco Harris, former Steelers running back, captured mid-Immaculate Reception:
This is fine art and it needs to be protected! Clean water, uncontaminated air, and potential for earthquakes are essentially an afterthought here. When Franco Harris is threatened, every limbic system in Western Pennsylvania should leap to attention, so I’m frankly appalled that no action has been taken against this well. Come on now, yinz!
Now Arriving at Pittsburgh International: Fracking, The New York Times.