Wow! Natural Gas Industry, Environmental Groups Mutually Agree on Fracking Standards

In an unprecedented move, natural gas companies and environmental organizations are collaborating on voluntary standards that could calm the uproar over fracking.

Frustrated by endless delays of federal regulation of the industry while the negative impacts of this very lack of regulation add up in communities around the country, the two sides have called a truce in the Northeast.

It’s simple: natural gas companies claim that fracking doesn’t pollute the air and water while communities and environmental groups claim the opposite.

Now, all the gas companies have to do is prove their operations are clean.

Based in Pittsburgh, the new Center for Sustainable Shale Development has established a set of 15 strong performance standards, that if met, would ensure safe, environmentally responsible development of the Appalachian Basin’s shale gas resources.

"This process has demonstrated for us that industry and environmental organizations, working together, can identify shared values and find common ground on standards that are environmentally protective," says Robert Vagt, president of The Heinz Endowments, one of the Center’s funders.

The standards are exactly what people have been pushing for on the state and federal levels: they prevent methane emissions through flaring, require disclosure of chemicals used, require groundwater monitoring and protection, water recycling and strict wastewater disposal, etc.

The Center will provide independent, third-party certification of proposed fracking locations.

"This can be an opportunity for these companies to  demonstrate their leadership" Mark Brownstein from the Environmental Defense Fund told FuelFix. "Anyone who claims to place a priority on good management practice should be rushing to sign up."

The Center will focus on Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio, where fracking is proceeding at a frenzied pace, as well as other states that sit on the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations. 

Shell Oil, Chevron, EQT Corp., Consol Energy have signed on, along with the Environmental Defense Fund, Clean Air Task Force, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Group Against Smog and Pollution, Citizens or Pennsylvania’s Future, Heinz Endowments and William Penn Foundation. Organizers are actively recruiting others.

"These standards are the state of the art, so we believe all Appalachian shale producers should join CSSD, and the standards should also serve as a model for national policy and practice," says Armond Cohen, Executive Director, Clean Air Task Force.

The report, Leaking Profits, shows that oil and gas companies can cut methane emissions 80% at a profit, using available technologies that would add $2 billion a year to the industry’s bottom line. That would reduce US methane emissions by a third – equal to closing 50 coal-fired power plants.

Without capturing methane, natural gas is dirtier than coal in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

Here are the Standards:

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Comments on “Wow! Natural Gas Industry, Environmental Groups Mutually Agree on Fracking Standards”

  1. Ron Wagner RN MA

    Natural gas is far cleaner than coal, gasoline or diesel. You are possibly thinking in terms of CO2 which is the most innocuous substance and is not actually a pollutant. Soot,nitrates, sulfur, CO, are all far worse,and come from the other fuels.

    Producing and using natural gas is the best solution for base power, in conjunction with solar, wind, geothermal etc. There is plenty of natural gas all around the world, and it can be accessed with new and future technology. The main concern for environmentalists worldwide should be to cut the use of coal, especially in antiquated plants. Here are the top ten coal burners: Dead link. Just search their site. China burns almost as much coal as the rest of the world combined.
    It is possible for the whole world to drastically cut coal burning and benefit the health of all. Coal pollution travels around the world.


    Natural gas is the future of energy. It is replacing dirty old coal plants, and dangerous expensive nuclear plants. It will fuel cars, trucks, vans, buses, locomotives, aircraft, ships, tractors, engines of all kinds. It costs far less. It will help keep us out of more useless wars, where we shed our blood and money. It is used to make many products. It will bring jobs and boost our economy. It lowers CO2 emissions, and pollution. Over 5,600 select natural gas story links on my free blog. An annotated and illustrated bibliography of live links, updated daily. The worldwide picture of natural gas. Read in 77 nations. ronwagnersrants . blogspot . com

  2. Enviro Equipment Inc.

    This news is a long time in coming. Instead of fighting the inevitable (using hydraulic fracturing to develop new sources of gas and oil), some common sense environmental groups realize it’s best to be involved as a way of controlling the oil and gas industry which, in many instances, totally dominates state legislatures to the point where the industry writes its own regulations, even if those regulations don’t adequately protect its citizens.


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