The environmental groups who signed on to the partnership include the Environmental Defense Fund, the Heinz Endowments, the Clean Air Task Force, EQT Corp. and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, and will work with big oil and gas companies such as Shell Oil and Chevron Appalachia in the new center. The project will cover Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio — "where a frenzy of drilling is under way in the huge, gas-rich Marcellus and Utica Shale formations," the Associated Press reported Friday. "If Shell Oil, Chevron Appalachia and other companies are found to be abiding by a list of stringent measures to protect the air and water from pollution, they will receive the blessing of the new Pittsburgh-based Center for Sustainable Shale Development, created by environmentalists and the energy industry," AP reports. However, as the Sierra Club was quick to point out, no amount of fossil fuel extraction, no matter how safe it is deemed, could be safe for the planet, based on what we know about the current fossil fuel induced climate crisis.
Even so, the coal industry says it is concerned about the criticism of coal and efforts by the administration to block its expansion.The Environmental Protection Agency, Raulston said, has not allowed new mines to be built or old ones to be expanded since Obama took office in 2009. The industry has sued the EPA over about 200 permits that have been held up.
A coalition of local and national conservation groups has filed a legal challenge to recently issued Ohio EPA permits allowing FirstEnergy’s antiquated Bayshore coal plant to continue destroying millions of Lake Erie’s fish rather than install modern equipment. Bayshore sits in Lake Erie’s Maumee Bay, one of the most important spawning grounds and fisheries in the world supporting a $1.4 billion annual commercial and recreational fishing economy. The suit would force FirstEnergy to install cooling towers, which would reduce the fish losses by 95%.