No Fracking Way

Fracking Center and Fluffy Kittens

by Dory Hippauf on March 21, 2013

fluffy kittenWHOOO-HOOO, Frackers and Environmentalists collaborate!  At least that’s the headlines and spin from  the natural gas PR people and the media echo chamber.

What does this new collaboration have to do with fluffy kittens?  Not much.

What does this new collaboration have to do with addressing the real issue of fracking?  Not much.

This new collaboration is called the Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD).  NOTE:  SUSTAINABLE SHALE DEVELOPMENT.

A hat tip to Eric B for locating the website who wrote :

“Just saw an article on this new group, the Center for Sustainable Shale Development. Sounds related, since EDF, Penn Future and Heinz and all list on the partner page :

Youigde web can tell the site was quickly thrown together as only the home page stays under the main address, other pages change host name. Sounds like an environmental spin to assuage our fears. Oh yes, we can do this responsibly…”


CSSD site is registered to Institute for Gas Drilling Excellence (IGDE). russian dolls

I blogged about IGDE last month: Institute of Déjà vu All Over Again

So which are they?  CSSD or IGDE?  Perhaps a natural gas version of matryoshka dolls?

CSSD About Page lists:
Board of Directors

  • Armond Cohen, Executive Director, Clean Air Task Force
  • Jared Cohon, President, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Nicholas J. DeIuliis, President, CONSOL Energy
  • Paul Goodfellow, Vice President, U.S. Unconventionals, Shell
  • Paul King, President, Pennsylvania Environmental Council
  • Fred Krupp, Executive Director, Environmental Defense Fund
  • Jane C.S. Long, formerly with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • Bruce Niemeyer, President, Chevron Appalachia
  • Paul O’Neill, former Secretary of the Treasury Department and retired Chairman and CEO, Alcoa
  • David Porges, President and CEO, EQT
  • Robert Vagt, President, The Heinz Endowments (Chair)
  • Christine Todd Whitman, President, The Whitman Strategy Group; former Governor of New Jersey and Administrator of the EPA

You may remember Christine Todd Whitman assuring people the air was safe to breathe in the days following 9/11.

So what’s CSSD going to do?  Don’t expect much to be done about the impact to the environment or your health.    What CSSD will do is “certify” natural gas corporations.   For a mere $30,000 a natural gas corporation will be certified.  Certified as what?

Per CSSD Certification Page:

The Center for Sustainable Shale Development’s diverse participants have adopted 15 progressive and rigorous performance standards for sustainable shale development that address the protection of air quality, water resources and climate. The certification process, including a plan for comprehensive third-party auditing, is currently in development.

It is expected that energy companies may begin applying for standard certification later in 2013.

Certification Process Overview

For a company wishing to achieve certification, an independent audit firm – which has met qualifications set by CSSD – will be retained to evaluate the company’s practices against the CSSD standards. The outcome of the audit may be Certified, Certified with Conditions, or Not Certified. Certified with Conditions will be granted where only minor deviations from the standard are present and corrections must be made within 90 days.

If a natural gas driller meets standards, they get a nifty certificate that they can use in their advertising campaigns.

Read Standards Here.   One of the standards requires natural gas drillers to list frack chemicals on …. wait for it…..  yep, FracFocus.   (Related: FracUNfocusED)

Nothing in the standards or on CSSD website indicates what happens if once “certified” a natural gas corporation fails to live up the standards.

For all the media hype, CSSD is not an enforcement agency.   They have no regulatory power, no authorization to levy fines, issue violation notices or otherwise oversee natural gas operations.

If a natural gas driller fails to obtain a CSSD certification does this mean a property owner can kick them off the property?  Nope, you signed a lease, you are stuck with it.

If a natural gas driller fails to live up to the CSSD standard does this mean a property owner can kick them off the property?  Nope, you signed a lease, you are stuck with it, but hey, that CSSD certificate sure does look dandy on the sign.

kittens2And by the way – participation in CSSD is VOLUNTARY.

Here, take 2 fluffy kittens, at least they are more comforting than another useless organization.





 UPDATE: Sierra Club Response

Sierra Club Press Statement: March 21, 2013
Contact: Jenny Chang, , 202-495-3020

Washington, D.C. — On Wednesday, a coalition of energy companies, environmentalists and Pennsylvania philanthropies created a new center that reportedly provides more stringent standards for fracking of natural gas in parts of the eastern United States.

The new Center for Sustainable Shale Development aims to set high operational standards for companies in the Marcellus Shale formation to boost water, air quality and climate protections by using independent auditors to certify companies seeking the center’s seal of approval meet the center’s standards.

In response, Deb Nardone, Sierra Club’s Beyond Natural Gas Campaign Director, issued the following statement:

“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.”

“Currently, the industry operates with significant loopholes from federal and state public health protections.This initiative, with which the Sierra Club had no involvement, provides only voluntary standards for the gas industry to meet. Voluntary certification is in no way a substitute for rigorous safeguards, monitoring, and enforcement. Voluntary safety certification is akin to slapping a band aid on a gaping wound. We know the oil and gas industry cannot be trusted to police itself and we cannot afford to give a free pass to bad actors in the industry.”

©2013 by Dory Hippauf 

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

deb March 21, 2013 at 2:24 pm

I don’t know about you, but this sounds to me like the first step to a new (yet unannounced) strategy to shift permitting and enforcement over to a ‘third party’. Privatize it you say? Well. Why didn’t I think of that? I’m sure the Republicans have.


Scott Cannon March 21, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Maybe our Governor Tom Corbett will privatize the gas drilling permit system and farm it out to the English company who will be running our lottery system.


Vera Scroggins March 21, 2013 at 6:11 pm

so, what are the standards for certification? and who are the environmentalists?? any of the citizens who have been exposing this Shale Industry in all of it’s dirtiness !! I like the strong statement by Deb Nardone from the Sierra Club. Can’t allow or trust the Shale Industry.


TXsharon March 21, 2013 at 8:46 pm

I don’t like seeing kitties and gasholes together.


Dwain Wilder March 21, 2013 at 11:09 pm

o frabjous joy
EDF mistaking the board room for the battlefront. again…
Why didn’t they just go ahead and name it the “White Citizens’ Council for Earnest Fracking” and be done with it?


Leave a Comment

WP-SpamFree by Pole Position Marketing

Previous post:

Next post: