Regardless of one’s perspective on oil and gas development, we believe it is important for communities to be able to make informed decisions about their future. Municipalities may wish to identify areas where drilling would be particularly burdensome for their residents and limit development through zoning ordinances. Others may wish to enter into dialogue with drilling companies before expensive permitting processes commence. Proactive planning can be difficult with existing tools, however. The PA DEP does publish locations of permitted and drilled wells, but these do not always predict future development. Meanwhile, information that could be used for planning can be largely inaccessible to those without the resources to do exhaustive legal research.
One such missing dataset is a comprehensive list of land parcels leased or contracted to oil and gas companies for future development. Until today.
FracTracker’s Allegheny County Lease Mapping Project goes beyond a simple list. It is an interactive tool for municipalities, land trusts, and community leaders to utilize when considering their relationships with the oil and gas industry. The project is also intended to assist individuals. For instance, people looking to purchase property may want to take proximity to oil and gas development into consideration alongside other factors like school districts and tax rates. While some may argue that the oil and gas extraction is in a period of dormancy, or even retraction, in Allegheny County, it is important to remember that the industry is cyclical in nature. We believe the Allegheny County Lease Mapping Project will assist a range of stakeholders in their long-term strategic planning efforts.
It is important to note that, although we captured the majority of records to date, there are other oil and gas records that we were not able to capture. Entries on the Allegheny County’s Department of Real Estate Office website after 2010 no longer list the parcel IDs necessary for mapping. We found some creative work arounds to this problem, but there may be other more recent leased parcels not shown on the map individuals may wish to investigate.