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Shale developers, environmentalists unite

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PITTSBURGH, Penn. - A newly formed center in Pittsburgh is being viewed as "ground-breaking" in regards to the shale boom. The Center for Sustainable Shale Development is a unique coming together of some of the nation's biggest oil and gas companies and environmentalists.

On it's website, the new center says that safe, sustainable shale resource development is achievable. It's an unprecedented collaboration of stakeholders in shale development. The chair of YSU's geological and environmental studies says the center has an impressive list of partners.

"Well you've got some major players with Chevron, Shell and Consol, and you've got major environmental groups on board with the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and you've got the support of the Heinz Foundation," says geology department chair, Jeffrey Dick.

The participants agree to submit to a set of 15 tough new standards for fracking to gain certification by the center.

"It looks like they pretty much cover all the bases from the site development to how you complete a well, and air emissions and water quality," Dick says.

A senior Vice President for Consol Energy, Katharine Fredriksen, says when the shale boom hit in this part of the country, it caught some communities and regulators off guard, and that's where this center will have the most benefit.

"It was a necessary and good step to get this group together to set some performance standards that would signal and give assurance to everyone's commitment to environmental protection and stewardship," says Fredriksen.

Dick believes this unique collaboration is the most logical approach to an industry that shows no signs of slowing down.

"Rather than just try to blockade it and stop it, work together to make sure it's done in an environmentally responsible way" Dick says.

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