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Is the Environmental Defense Fund ruining environmentalism?

The battle over hydraulic fracking of oil and natural gas has pitted land owners against each other. It has also created divides between neighboring states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. And now, after the Environmental Defense Fund joined a coalition of nonprofits and oil companies called the Center for Sustainable Shale Development, fracking is also splitting the environmental community.

The Center for Shale Development advocates that oil and gas companies voluntarily adopt 15 performance standards. These cover wastewater disposal, fracking fluids, air pollution standards for drill engines, limits on gas flaring in the fields and more. But this week, 68 grassroots groups protested the Environmental Defense Fund’s move, arguing the big environmental advocacy organization had allowed itself to be “co-opted by industry interests,” and that it was engaged in “greenwashing.”

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