The new Center for Sustainable Shale Development (formerly the Institute for Gas Drilling Excellence) will hold a press conference today at 1pm at the offices of the Heinz Endowments in Pittsburgh. The Center's mission is to provide independent evaluations of gas producing companies performance. The evaluations will determine whether a company's performance complies with 15 operating standards adopted by the Center.
The 15 standards fall into three categories--water protection, climate protection, and air protection. I chaired a process that began in the Spring of 2011 that led to adoption of the standards in the Fall of 2012 by what was then called the Institute For Gas Drilling Excellence. The standards were developed through comprehensive discussion and work over 18 months by 6 non-government organizations and 4 gas producers. They were unanimously adopted.
The Center is an independent organization with a diverse board. On the 12 person board are the Heinz Endowments, EDF, Clean Air Task Force, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, EQT, Consol, Chevron, Shell, and then 4 independent directors who have incredibly impressive backgrounds. The organization is not controlled by non-government organizations or by gas producers.
The goal of the Center is to improve the operating and environmental performance of companies that produce shale gas and reduce environmental impacts by better operations. The Center's creation poses this important question to every company drilling for shale gas: Will you file an application for certification and be evaluated by the Center?
Some leading companies are answering that question affirmatively. And so the question for all companies will become, if you have not yet sought certification from the Center when other companies have done so, why have you not sought and received certification of your operations as meeting the standards established by the Center?
Today's 1pm press conference at the Heinz Endowments office will be an important event.