Gas Industry Makes Peace With Environmentalists In Pa

03.21.13 |

Some of the nation's biggest oil and gas companies made peace with environmentalists Wednesday in Pennsylvania, agreeing to tough new standards for fracking that could lead to a major expansion of drilling across the northeast. Drilling and pipeline companies will be encouraged to submit to an independent review of their operations. If they abide by the rules, they'll receive the blessing of the new Pittsburgh-based Center for Sustainable Shale Development, created jointly by environmentalists and the gas industry. Many of the new rules are stricter then state and federal regulations. It's the first time companies and environmental groups have reached an agreement to create an entire system to reduce the effects of shale drilling.

Meanwhile, a New York Appeals court will hear arguments from two upstate New York towns today that want to use zoning to ban gas drilling. Representatives from Dryden and Middlefield appear in a Mid-level Appellate division courtroom, and they should have an answer on whether they can control drilling within town borders in six weeks. They are among more then 50 towns that have banned drilling statewide; and 100 that have enacted moratoriums on drilling activities. The oil and gas industry says the choice needs to be left up to homeowners, not towns.