Cumberland Times-News

Local News

April 7, 2013

Fracking coalition upsets both greens and drillers

PITTSBURGH — Like a marriage the in-laws don’t approve of, a new plan to strengthen standards for fracking is creating unusual divisions among environmentalists and supporters of the oil and gas industry.

At first glance, it’s hard to fathom all the angst over the Pittsburgh-based Center for Sustainable Shale Development.

Environmental groups, foundations, and major oil and gas companies came together to support stringent measures to protect air and water from pollution in the Appalachian region, and they invited other groups to join in and help limit pollution from fracking.

The Sierra Club called the new plan “akin to slapping a Band-Aid on a gaping wound,” and a coalition of grass-roots groups called No Frack Ohio claimed that the plan “simply puts green lipstick on a pig.”

The fight is so toxic in part because fracking has be-come a symbol for the even bigger debate over climate change. Both sides see a historic crossroads, like an energy version of D-Day or Waterloo, in which the winner will determine energy and climate policy for decades to come.

One side envisions an immediate, all-out embrace of renewable energy and a virtual boycott of all fossil fuels. The other says that whether we like it or not, the transition to renewables will take decades, and in the meantime, we need to use technology and new partnerships to make fracking as safe and clean as possible.

 

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