Heinz Endowments funds drilling foes and backers

PITTSBURGH (AP) — In the fierce debates over the safety of fracking for natural gas, one group is giving both sides a chance to make their points.

Pittsburgh’s Heinz Endowments is funding groups that say fracking can’t ever be done safely. It is also working with major energy companies and environmentalists who believe the drilling can be done without hurting the environment.

Heinz spokesman Doug Root says the endowments try to encourage various and sometimes opposing views and “different approaches to advocacy on environmental issues.”

One expert on foundations said the Heinz approach is somewhat unusual, but not unheard of.

Aaron Dorfman is the director of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. He says it appears the endowments are just trying to find a way to deal with the challenging issue of fracking.

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