Two years ago, an informal group of high level leaders from both the Marcellus drilling industry (companies like Shell, CONSOL, Chevron and EQT) sat down with high level people from organizations trying to stop shale drilling (organizations like the Heniz Endowment, PennFuture, GASP and the Clean Air Taskforce), to see if both sides could agree on standards that would tell the world, “this activity is safe to do.” There were times, early on, when both sides thought the effort would be fruitless. But somewhere along the way, they “came together” and formed what was officially announced yesterday: The Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD).
The CSSD proposes 15 new “performance standards” for those in the industry to follow—for drillers, midstream companies and in some cases the supply chain companies that work for them. Depending on your viewpoint, the CSSD and their standards are either a brilliant compromise that will make drilling safer and polish up the image of the industry, or a new group of mafia-like bullies out to force companies to pony up $30,000 to get certified “or else.” The group clearly wants (demands?) to be the certification body for Marcellus drillers, and if you don’t seek certification, they clearly intend to make you a pariah.
This MDN article will necessarily be much longer than most. We sat in on yesterday’s press conference by the CSSD (via phone), and will have our opinion as to the group, what they said, and what it means. We list our own summary of the 15 proposed new standards below (very important for those in industry to review this list). We also link to a number of other news accounts, so you can get other opinions.
The new CSSD has the power and potential to affect every single stakeholder in the shale drilling debate: from landowners to regulators to drillers and supply chain companies. Yes, it’s that important…