Environmentalists Cry Foul Over New 'Partnership' Announced Between Enviros and Drillers in the Marcellus Shale

"Partnerships such as this only set the stage to escalate fracking activity, while reinforcing our addiction to fossil fuels," says Gasland director Josh Fox.

Photo Credit: AFP

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The Los Angeles Times announced today that "a coalition of energy companies, environmentalists and Pennsylvania-based philanthropies" were teaming up to create a "center that would provide more stringent standards for fracking and natural gas development in the Eastern United States."

The LA Times wrote:

The new Center for Sustainable Shale Development, the first of its kind in the U.S., seeks to set high operational standards for companies working in the Marcellus Shale in the areas of water and air quality and climate impact.

While the media hailed the news as a great new partnership between environmentalists and industry, most environmentalists working on fracking are staunchly opposed. Josh Fox, director of the film Gasland issued this statement on behalf of Americans Against Fracking:

The Center for Sustainable Shale Development, a new greenwashing group backed by the oil and gas industry, will not mitigate the economic, environmental and public health threats posed by hydraulic fracturing (fracking). That is because no amount of regulations can ever make fracking safe. It is an inherently dangerous practice.

Americans Against Fracking, a coalition representing over 190 organizations dedicated to protecting Americans from the devastating effects of fracking, urges the public and policy makers to see this endeavor for what it is: a thinly veiled attempt to mask the irreparable damage posed by a practice that has been linked to air and water contamination, cardiovascular disease and the industrialization of rural communities.

This center does not represent the interests of the environmental community, and very few members of the movement to protect communities and their vital resources from fracking were consulted in the development of the center’s so-called ‘standards.’ In fact, there is a growing movement that recognizes that fracking must be banned. Partnerships such as this only set the stage to escalate fracking activity, while reinforcing our addiction to fossil fuels.

This initiative is brought to us by the same industry that negotiated exemptions from key environmental protections such as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act. We can’t trust them to take the physical or economic safety of Americans to heart.

Tara Lohan is a freelance writer and former senior editor at AlterNet. She is the editor of two books on the global water crisis, including Water Matters: Why We Need to Act Now to Save Our Most Critical Resource. Follow her on Twitter @TaraLohan.

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