The Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD) wants to begin certifying producers in the Appalachian Basin that adhere to its standards by the end of the year.

CSSD spokesman Matt Mahoney told NGI’s Shale Daily on Friday that “CSSD leaders want to begin certifying compliance with the standards later this year.”

CSSD has four major industry participants: Chevron Corp., Consol Energy Inc., EQT Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell plc. It was in negotiations with a fifth in April (see Shale Daily, April 11). The new organization hopes to certify producers in the Appalachian Basin for adherence to a set of 15 standards, or best practices.

Best practices identified by the CSSD include the disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing (fracking), adopting closed-loop systems and other efforts to reduce wastewater and air emissions from the drilling process. CSSD plans to begin accepting certification applications later this year, with energy companies agreeing to be audited by an independent contractor. Part of the plan is that consumers will want to buy gas from certified producers, which will drive producers into the fold.

Other CSSD founders include the Clean Air Task Force, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Group Against Smog and Pollution, Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture) and Pennsylvania Environmental Council. Two philanthropic organizations, the Heinz Endowments and the William Penn Foundation, are also members.

Lou D’Amico, president of the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association, said his organization wasn’t too impressed with the CSSD so far. “We have state laws that tell you what you should be doing,” D’Amico said Friday. “Frankly, we’re not sure we see the relevance of standards that are developed by major oil companies and environmental groups. We’re not sure that those are necessary or appropriate.

“We haven’t seen a lot from them. It’s real tough at this point to know what exactly they are up to.”