Toothless group

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There has been much hype about the newly formed Center for Sustainable Shale Development. If anyone is wondering why you shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth, take a look at CSSD -- it's toothless.

According to Jared Cohon, president of Carnegie Mellon University and a member of CSSD's board of directors, CSSD is a complement to strong regulatory frameworks. "Complements" are not regulations.

CSSD has no regulatory authority, nor does it have the power to enforce anything. The Marcellus Shale Coalition also has a set of "guidelines" and "recommendations" for its natural gas corporate members, but no power or authority to enforce them.

Participation in CSSD or MSC is voluntary, not mandatory, nor is participation required in Pennsylvania. The CSSD or MSC cannot impose penalties, prevent natural gas corporations from drilling, shut down a drill site or suspend permits.

As the 2014 election season heats up, we will hear many candidates talking about "responsible drilling." It is a nice short sound bite, easy to remember, and it easily rolls off the tongue. How can we have "responsible" drilling if no one is held "responsible" or takes "responsibility"?

DORINA HIPPAUF
Lehman, Luzerne County


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