Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Center For Sustainable Shale Development Changes Fundamentally Shale Production Because Gas Certified As Sustainably Produced Will Soon Be Demanded By Gas Consumers

Yesterday's successful launch of the Center For Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD) in Pittsburgh is a game changing event for shale gas development.  Simply put, as is the case with forestry products now, gas consumers will increasingly demand that the gas they buy be certified as sustainably produced.

Ultimately, it will matter not that individual gas producers like or dislike CSSD.  What will be decisive is that consumers of gas from Washington DC to Maine and from New York to Chicago will demand that their gas is certified as sustainably managed.  For example, I suspect that Mayor Bloomberg and many other political, business, and regulatory leaders are already exploring when and how they will get CSSD certified gas.

Again, in forest products, timber certified as sustainably grown is almost an imperative for success in the US marketplace.  Crucially, compared to the attention paid to forest management issues, the public attention paid to shale gas dwarfs forest stewardship.

Indeed, the public concern about shale gas development is so intense that electricity generators and competitive retail electricity suppliers will jump or be pushed to use increasingly CSSD certified gas in the making of electricity.  And power production is a vital market for gas producers.

Consumer preferences and this powerful market demand means that smart gas producers will join Consol, Equitable, Shell, and Consol in improving their gas production operations so that they can earn CSSD certification.  Whether gas producers like CSSD or not, CSSD just changed fundamentally their business world by empowering consumers to decide what gas they will buy and what gas they will not.


  1. Sorry, but unless these gas companies can be held accountable, and there are serious consequences like being shut down and/or prosecuted for harming people, communties, our water/air, etc., this is all meaningless. I'm not buying into this 'responsible' shale development PR. Show me where this HV/SW brand of hydraulic fracturing has ever been done 'responsibly' by any company first. And, please stop saying "this has been going on for sixty years without any serious problems." This is NOT 'your grandfathers gas well', and we know it.

    1. Concerned ScientistMarch 22, 2013 at 5:35 PM

      IT is all fine to say this but please provide an example where a person who doesn't work for the company has been harmed by shale gas drilling. And I mean physically harmed, not anxiety or some sort of mental health issue. Not an anecdote but a case where shale gas drilling harmed someone who lived near the well and there is a clear medical link between the problem and shale gas development.

      Just one example will do.

      My guess is that you will either not respond or say something like "there are so many I am not going point one out" or "we all know that shale gas harms people, I am not going to provide an example."

      That is because there are no examples. This whole issue has been inflated way out of proportion.

    2. Concerned CitizenMarch 25, 2013 at 1:26 PM

      Rhetoric aside, part of the issue is that there isn't enough hard (read: non-anecdotal) science yet. The effort to obfuscate information (trade secrets, closed court cases, etc.) by developers doesn't make that process easier.

      The question you should be asking isn't what proof, but rather why we would subject hardworking citizens to hazards that we don't yet understand. Do you really have that much faith in big government?

  2. Sustainably managed natural gas? Talk about greenwashing a finite fossil fuel! All the certification in the world won't negate the human errors, "equipment malfunctions", drills and spills and more. Our DEP will continue to fail to do their job to protect us by continuing to allow the industry to police itself and run PR on their behalf when incidents do happen. Adminstrative violations without fines is a slap on the company's wrist and a slap in the face of PA residents!

  3. I had my doubts when I first heard about this, now I really do. So how does a gas company get the "SEAL OF APPROVAL"? Granted this is a more balanced panel than the Marcellus Coalition...what will be considered business as usual? What will be considered too much for the residents of the gasfields to endure? Will well density and quality of life go into that SEAL OF APPROVAL? Where are the citizens or witnesses to gas extraction consequences? We don't even have a requirement for an impact study before permitting thousands of wells. Sorry, I am not going to break open the champagne over this. Call me, too wise, too weary and too experienced.

  4. Concerned ScientistMarch 22, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    Sustainable is the wrong word here I think. To me, sustainable means that it can keep going indefinitely without long term harm to the environment and without running out of the resource. I'd have to agree that this is greenwashing. The gas will run out some day and there will be CO2 added from burning of the methane. Its far better than coal and oil, but it does pollute. It can always be done better and that appears to the goal of this group which is laudable. But It can't be "sustained" indefinitely. Sustainable means it can still be done the same way in 1000 years. That isn't the case here.