Green Gas? The Fracking News

The Fracking News

There’s a new collaboration between a couple of the largest corporations on the planet, a few Pittsburgh based environmental organizations, and a few wealthy Western PA foundations. The Center for Sustainable Shale Development lays out lists of best practices in shale driling. Good ideas like closed loop systems which reduces or eliminates the need for open containment pits. In return for compliance to these voluntary guidelines, the companies (Shell, Chevron, EQT) will get a sustainable certification, similar to a LEED certification.

This new plan has the environmental community split – the Coalition for a Healthy County’s own partners are on opposite ends of the issue: Our very close partners, Pennfuture, is one of the original members of this new sustainable shale coalition, while our other close partner, the Sierra Club, blasted the new deal as essentially lipstick on a pig. On the one hand, it’s good that these companies are at the table discussing best practices, and sustainable gas development. Joe Osborn of G.A.S.P., another friend of CHC and partner of this new effort says: “We hope our participation shows this is an attempt to create legitimate and meaningful performance standards and that it will have a positive effect on the environment.”  On the other hand, is this the type of company that’s going to put people over profits?

Are you still twitching from reading the words “sustainable” and “shale development” in the same sentence?  Or, are you having deja-vu?

This Friday, we’ll talk about this complicated issue with our panel of local experts @ Last Friday Films, 3/29, 7:30 at the Indiana Theater. 

We’ll likely also talk about the DEP, and the sudden resignation of their chief, Micheal Krancer. He’ll be leaving April 15 to take up work in the energy industry. Obviously.

Speaking of Carbon Democracy, Dr. Timothy Mitchel, a professor of history at Columbia University, and author of Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil, will be on campus, Monday April 1, 6pm Ohio Room in the Hub 

In the meantime, Butler county has drilling in Ohio to blame for bad waterPennsylvania drilling has soiled creeks in West Virginia, and we just can’t seem to go very long without some major spill.

This raises at least a couple obvious questions: 1. Are we really studying the big picture, or are we repeating mistakes of the past, and 2. Who’s tracking drilling violations in Indiana County? (hint: there is a definitive answer for one of those two)

And all this brings into sharp contrast the remarkable fact that, there is still no drilling in New York State. The odds are stacked against that happening in Pennsylvania…but one way it might happen is one farm at a time.

See you Friday!!

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