Court to Decide If Fracked Gas Water Withdrawal Can Be Built In Public Park

On September 18, 2019, a hearing will be held at the Allegheny County Orphans Court to determine whether a portion of Blythedale Park in Elizabeth Township can be used for private use as a water withdrawal pump station. The proposed pump station will withdraw up to 4,000,000 gallons of water a day from the Youghiogheny River for fracked gas operations. The freshwater from the river will then be piped to Huntley & Huntley Energy Exploration’s (Huntley & Huntley) fracked gas well pads, used during operations, and eventually become contaminated residual waste.  

Elizabeth Township agreed to let Huntley & Huntley use the park land for private profit, despite that the parcel was gifted to the township with the stipulation that it is to be used only as public lands.

Protect Elizabeth Township, a group of concerned community members, is challenging the appropriation of public land.  They believe that, in addition to being an illegal use of public park lands, the pump station will diminish recreational use and enjoyment of the entire area. Blythedale Park is home to the Great Allegheny Passage, a 150 mile trail which draws thousands of hikers and cyclists to the area from all over the nation.  Paddlers of the Yough will also have to compete with the sight and noise of the pump station as they try to enjoy vistas from the water. 

Any concerned residents or supporters may attend the public hearing on September 18th at 10am in Courtroom #3 located at 1700 Frick Building, 437 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. A large turnout in the court will show the judge that the public is not in support of using a park for private fracking operations. Protect Elizabeth Township and Mountain Watershed Association will be coordinating rides to the hearing. If you would like to join a carpool, then please contact Tyler at 724-455-4200×6# or

Current view from the Yough of pump house construction.