The public wants something that is not now the case--strong environmental regulation of shale gas development, according to a new poll of opinion in 6 states in the Marcellus region. The Nature Conservancy poll is full of interesting data--87% support for slashing methane leakage--and is here:
Best practices and best technology are currently both available and not being uniformly used. Some companies don't use drilling pits to store drilling waste water but others do. Most compressor stations are running on diesel fuel--the dirtiest option--and don't have installed the best pollution controls that would cut air emissions 90%. Flaring is widely used and too often with poor equipment. Green completions to cut methane emissions are spreading and will be required in 2014 by EPA rule for most shale wells but still many wells are drilled without them.
In short, the voluntary approach has and will not work. State and federal rules must require best practices and technology. Then regulators must enforce those rules to insure compliance. That's exactly what overwhelming majorities want.
Time will tell whether those majorities matter!