Monday, March 25, 2013

Deal among frackers, some environmentalists is not going over well with some other greens

Oil and gas companies and environmentalists agreed on Wednesday to a new set of voluntary hyrdaulic-fracturing standards that will encourage companies in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to submit to an independent review of their operations, but some environmental groups have expressed their concern with the deal.

Under the plan, if drilling companies "are found to be abiding by a list of stringent measures to protect the air and water from pollution, they will receive the blessing of the new Pittsburgh-based Center for Sustainable Shale Development, created by environmentalists and the energy industry," reports Kevin Begos of The Associated Press. Organizations involved include Shell Oil, Chevron Appalachia, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Heinz Endowments, the Clean Air Task Force, EQT Corp. (Equitable Resources) and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, writes Begos.

Deb Nardone, a Sierra Club spokesperson, called the new plan "akin to slapping a Band-Aid on a gaping wound. We know that our continued reliance on dirty, dangerous fossil fuels, like natural gas, will not solve the climate crisis, even with the best controls in place. The majority of natural gas must stay in the ground if we want any chance of avoiding climate disaster."

Americans Against Fracking responded to the new plan in a statement: “This center does not represent the interests of the environmental community, and very few members of the movement to protect communities and their vital resources from fracking were consulted in the development of the center’s so-called ‘standards.’ In fact, there is a growing movement that recognizes that fracking must be banned. Partnerships such as this only set the stage to escalate fracking activity, while reinforcing our addiction to fossil fuels."

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