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Braddock Residents Demand Answers, Public Hearing Regarding Natural Gas Drilling

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A vocal crowd packed into the Braddock Volunteer Fire Department Wednesday Night to voice concerns over potential natural gas drilling at the site of the U.S. Steel's Edgar Thompson Plant.

Merrion Oil and Gas, a company out of New Mexico, wants to construct a gas well on the property, but residents voiced concern over already being impacted by emissions from steel and coke production.

"It's a collaborative effort with some other land owners in the area as well as us," said Ryan Davis from Merrion Oil and Gas. "We're very proud of this project and we're going to keep moving forward try to eliminate the concerns that were voiced tonight."

Among the concerned citizens were members of the Food & Water Watch group and they demanded a public hearing.

"Residents of the Mon Valley, we are painfully aware that we are the sacrifice zone for the rest of Allegheny County," said Megan McDonough of Food & Water Watch.

U.S. Steel also voiced their response in a statement.

"We appreciate the invitation extended by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to participate in tonight's meeting regarding Merrion Oil & Gas Corporation's permit applications. Safety and environmental stewardship are core values at U. S. Steel. It is our commitment to protect our employees and the communities in which we operate. We view Merrion's proposed well as a potential opportunity to enhance the long-term cost competitiveness of our local Mon Valley Works facilities, including the Edgar Thomson Plant. We use natural gas for our daily operations and Merrion's proposed well will provide natural gas at an advantaged price. Having available and competitively priced energy resources provides our Mon Valley facilities, and the many good paying, union jobs they support, with a key advantage in a fiercely competitive global steel market."

No timetable has been set for public hearings.

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