Gas drilling at Pittsburgh airport is cheered by Pennsylvania politicians of both parties

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IMPERIAL, Pennsylvania — The start of natural gas drilling near the Pittsburgh International Airport is being cheered by Pennsylvania politicians from both parties.

The ceremony Monday to officially announce and celebrate the start of drilling featured remarks by Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, Democratic County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Republican Congressman Tim Murphy, and local leaders.

Fitzgerald says the vast majority of people he talks to support the Consol Energy project, which could ultimately bring more than $500 million in royalties to the Allegheny County Airport Authority. Consol, which is based in nearby Cecil, plans to drill 45 wells from six pads over the next few years. The wells will tap into the gas-rich Marcellus Shale about 7,000 feet underground.

Consol says drilling began about 10 days ago.

The Federal Aviation Administration reviewed the project and approved the plan, along with state and local authorities.

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