Fracking coalition upsets both greens and drillers

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A new plan to strengthen standards for fracking is unusual creating divisions among environmentalists and supporters of the oil and gas industry.

Some environmentalists say the plan is too soft and meaningless, while some in the industry complain it goes too far. Others say the Pittsburgh-based Center for Sustainable Shale Development threatens extremists on both sides of the fracking debate.

The center aims to work much like Underwriters Laboratories, which puts its familiar UL seal of approval on electrical appliances that meet its standards.

Drilling companies will be encouraged to submit to an independent review of their operations. If they are found to be abiding by a list of 15 stringent measures, they will receive the center’s blessing.

Participants include Shell, Chevron, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Clean Air Task Force, CONSOL Energy and PennFuture.

Other groups invited to join the center have declined or are waiting to decide.

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