More groups question “Sustainable Shale” initiative

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A newly announced coalition meant to raise the environmental standards of shale-gas extraction has drawn favorable notice in the media. But a growing number of citizen groups and environmental organizations say the Center for Sustainable Shale Development won’t make fracking safer — and risks providing cover for risky gas extraction in the future.

The Center, spearheaded by the Heinz Endowments, was announced at a Downtown press conference Wednesday. The Center is a coalition of industry and environmental and philanthropic groups offering a voluntary certification process to make practices like hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, less damaging to the environment and less risky to human health.

As noted this morning in Blogh, the Sierra Club criticized the Center’s standards as
“a Band-Aid” on the “gaping wound” of the climate crisis.

The Center was also taken to task by Ohio Citizen Action. In a release, the group points out that the Center has no representation by landowners, neighbors, taxpayers or medical experts. It also notes that the standards are voluntary — and that, while the Center’s certification would apparently apply to energy companies operating in Ohio, the Center doesn’t include any environmental groups based in Ohio, or the energy companies who dominate extraction there.

The whole press release is here.

And this afternoon, a coalition of Pennsylvania environmental groups issued a press release headlined “New Fracking Standards Not Supported by Environmental Organizations.” The groups — including Berks Gas Truth, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, the Green Party of Pennsylvania and the Mountain Watershed Association — say that evidence is mounting that “fracking cannot be done safely” and that it’s dangerous to think otherwise.

The release also points out that “sustainable shale” is an oxymoron (because natural gas is a nonrenewable resource). And the groups argue that the standards the Center touts as rigorous “don’t appear to be substantially different from the corresponding regulations the industry has been blatantly disregarding for years.”

The whole release is here.

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