Diverse stakeholders align to establish shale development certification standards
A group of leading environmental organizations, philanthropic foundations, and energy companies have come together to form a unique organization that will provide performance standard certifications for shale developers.
PITTSBURGH, PA, March 20, 2013 -- A group of leading environmental organizations, philanthropic foundations, and energy companies have come together to form a unique organization that will provide performance standard certifications for shale developers.
The Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD) has established 15 initial performance standards designed to ensure safe and environmentally responsible development of the Appalachian Basin's abundant shale gas resources. These standards will form the foundation of the CSSD's independent, third-party certification process.
While full details on the standards are available at www.sustainableshale.org, the major areas addressed by the initial performance standards include:
Surface and Ground Water Protection, including:
Maximizing Water Recycling
Development of Groundwater Protection Plans
Closed Loop Drilling
Well Casing Design
Reduced Toxicity Fracturing Fluid
Air and Climate protection, including:
Limitations on Flaring
Use of Green Completions/Reduced Emissions
Reduced Engine Emissions
Emissions Controls on Storage Tanks
CSSD's Board of Directors
"CSSD is the result of an unprecedented effort that brought together a group of stakeholders with diverse perspectives, working to create responsible performance standards and a rigorous, third-party evaluation process for shale gas operations," said Robert Vagt, president of The Heinz Endowments. "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."
Technical support has been provided by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, ICF International, and the law firm of Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott.
"These 15 Performance Standards are meaningful," said Paul Goodfellow, Vice President Unconventionals US, Shell Upstream Americas. "This is the type of collaborative model that experts, leaders and policy makers from around the world believe is necessary to earn and keep a social license to responsibly develop the shale resource that Pennsylvania and the Appalachia region are fortunate to have. The benefit of that resource cannot be at the sacrifice of other important resources -- including our air and water."
"While shale development has been controversial, everyone agrees that, when done, producers must minimize environmental risk," said Armond Cohen, Executive Director, Clean Air Task Force. "These standards are the state of the art on how to accomplish that goal, so we believe all Appalachian shale producers should join CSSD, and the standards should also serve as a model for national policy and practice."
|CSSD's founding participants|
Clean Air Task Force
Environmental Defense Fund
Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP)
Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture)
Pennsylvania Environmental Council
William Penn Foundation
"This effort provides a forum where leading companies can demonstrate and get recognition for excellence in environmental performance -- thus setting a new, higher bar for all operators to meet," said Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). "While this effort is promising, there are many companies drilling shale gas which means the only sure protections for all the neighbors and our water and air will be when we finally have in place strong regulations and consistent compliance."
Through discussions over the past two years, CSSD participants established a shared vision of performance and environmental risk minimization for natural gas development in the Appalachian region. The group's participants have worked to adopt a set of progressive and rigorous performance standards based on today's understanding of the risks associated with natural gas development and the technological capacity to minimize those risks.
"Raising the bar on performance and committing to public, rigorous and verifiable standards demonstrates our companies' determination to develop this resource safely and responsibly," said Bruce Niemeyer, President of Chevron Appalachia. "Throughout the development of CSSD, the collaborative effort of environmental organizations, foundations and energy companies has been the key to achieving consensus on regional performance standards."
"While the potential economic and environmental benefits of shale gas are substantial, the public expects transparency, accountability and a fundamental commitment to environmental safety and the protection of human health from the companies operating throughout the region. CSSD is a sound step toward assuring the public that shale development is being done to the requisite standards of excellence," said Paul O'Neill, former Secretary of the Treasury and retired Chairman of Pittsburgh-based Alcoa and a member of CSSD's Board of Directors.
Companies can begin seeking certification in these areas later this year.
CSSD also plans to develop programs to share best practices.
About Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD)
Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, CSSD is an independent organization whose mission is to support continuous improvement and innovative practices through performance standards and third-party certification. Focused on shale development in the Appalachian Basin, the Center provides a forum for a diverse group of stakeholders to share expertise with the common objective of developing solutions and serving as the center of excellence for shale gas development.
Funded by philanthropic foundations and participating energy companies, CSSD is intended to promote collaborative efforts by industry and its stakeholders called for by the Shale Gas Production Subcommittee of the U.S. Secretary of Energy's Advisory Board.