PITTSBURGH (AP) - Some of the nation's biggest energy companies and environmental groups have agreed on a voluntary set of standards for gas and oil fracking in the Northeast.
The project represents a rare case of cooperation between the two sides, and if it succeeds, it could have far-reaching effects.
It will work a lot like Underwriters Laboratories, which puts its UL seal of approval on electrical appliances that meet its standards. In this case, drilling and pipeline companies will be encouraged to submit to an independent review of their operations.
If they are found to be taking certain steps to protect the air and water, they will receive the blessing of the brand-new Center for Sustainable Shale Development, based in Pittsburgh.