The Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) on Friday presented a list of industry "principles" for natural gas drillers to follow that coalition members hope will translate into positives for the Marcellus Shale.

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge joined the MSC at its annual meeting in Pittsburgh to unveil the seven "guiding principles," which the industry would live by "each and every day" and "embrace."

"We have an unprecedented opportunity with the Marcellus Shale -- the second largest natural gas field in the entire world," said Ridge. "Of course though, we need to be smart -- and responsible -- at every step of the way as this tremendous opportunity is realized. And we are, and will continue to be."

In its "Commitment to the Community," the MSC said its members would operate by these guiding principles:

"We will focus on developing new demand for natural gas while we improve our efforts to conserve energy," said Ridge. "And our guiding principles reinforce this commitment."

The "responsible development" of the Marcellus Shale "represents a historic opportunity to strengthen the region's economy and workforce and holds the promise to dramatically bolster the nation's energy security and put America on a path toward a cleaner energy economy," said MSC President Kathryn Klaber. She said the MSC's guidelines underscored the industry's assurance that shale development would be "done right."

MSC Chairman Ray N. Walker Jr., who is senior vice president of Range Resources Corp., said, "while this is complex technology, we need to keep things simple -- we must, and are committed to doing things right." The seven principles, he said, "will help make certain that we will deliver on what is looking more like maybe the greatest economic opportunity this commonwealth has seen in generations."

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