Environmental stories usually leave me frustrated and disappointed – with both sides. But not today. Finally, I read something that gives me hope for civil discourse in this country on the issues that matter most. If we’re all shouting at one another to make our point, who’s listening?
In western Pennsylvania, where fracking for natural gas is becoming commonplace, a group has formed to help raise the standards of the fracking industry so the practice is sustainable and safe for humans and the environment.
The Center for Sustainable Shale Development, formed on March 20, is comprised of a combo of representatives from energy companies vested in fracking and representatives from environmental groups dedicated to safe practices. Their goal is to adopt higher performance standards for fracking companies in the areas of air quality, water resources, and climate. Folks from Consol Energy, Chevron, and Shell are sitting at the same table with members of the Clean Air Task Force and the Group Against Smog and Pollution. Even better than sitting down together – they’re getting something done without shouting.
By September, they will begin certifying companies following exemplary practices. The certification will be a badge worn by companies to show they are practicing safe and sustainable methods of fracking. So if a company comes knocking on your door offering you a lifetime of riches for drilling on your property, you can ask for their CSSD badge. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the “CSSD endorsement will be similar to the LEED certification given to energy-efficient buildings.”
I love it when we participate in civil discourse, particularly in areas of great diversity of opinion. I applaud both sides for coming together to find a way to get natural gas out of the ground without wrecking our water and future.
I hope this group can put a stop to things such as what happened in Ohio a few months ago when Hardrock Excavating illegally dumped thousands of gallons wastewater from a fracking operation into the Mahoning River. A mishap of miscommunication occurred, and no one let us folks know just across the border here in Pennsylvania. (Beaver County Times, March 31, 2013) The Mahoning River feeds directly into my beloved Beaver River where my husband and I spend many summer days kayaking and boating.
Lupo owns Hardrock Excavating. Lupo also owns D&L Energy, the company that operated the injection well that caused the 2011 earthquake near Youngstown, Ohio.
It’s time companies, such as Lupo are stopped, and companies who practice exemplary fracking operations are rewarded. We need to encourage the good guys and put the bad guys out of business.
When we do, all sides win. Our communities get much-needed jobs, we receive cheaper methods to heat our homes, and we protect our water from harm.