Fracking is a hot topic across the United States and both sides continue with dueling studies that show how safe it is or the dangers involved. As with most disputes, the real answer is somewhere in between.
But with the U.S. quickly regaining its status as the world’s largest oil and gas producer, the reality is fracking is not going to stop anytime soon. That means instead of fighting against the brick wall of skyrocketing revenues that boost the economy, why not find a way to make that technology much safer for the workers, the environment and the surrounding neighbors.
Take one Pennsylvania group that is working on keeping fracking safe.
Breathe Easy Susquehanna County (BESC), a citizens’ advocacy organization, represents drilling advocates and individuals who support a moratorium on fracking.
“We can sit here and argue over whether fracking should stop, but that’s a moot point—it’s happening,” Rebecca Roter, the chairwoman of BESC, said in a National Journal Daily report. “And the collective reality is, we’re all experiencing the same impacts so we need to work together.”
BESC wants drillers to better control greenhouse-gas and chemical emissions from fracking and has organized meetings with representatives from energy companies operating wells in the area. Nothing concrete has emerged from these talks, but Roter said she’s encouraged that the conversation is happening at all. “This is a process,” Roter said. “But the fact that the industry is having a dialogue with us is amazing.”
The Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD) is also attempting to broker compromise. CSSD is a nonprofit based in Pittsburgh consisting of partner organizations ranging from Chevron and Shell to the Environmental Defense Fund. In March, the organization released a set of performance standards for the oil and natural-gas industry, and companies that voluntarily adopt them will begin using the new criteria this fall.