EDF Promotes Sustainable Fracking Practices – and draws ire of other environmental groups

By Brent Fewell

Environmental Defense Fund is taking heat from other environmental groups for promoting sustainable energy practices, as reported by Lenny Bernstein over at WaPo.fracking

In an unusually public dispute, about 70 environmental groups Wednesday scolded one of their larger brethren, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), for joining with a group of energy companies that support hydraulic fracturing.

The group of mostly small, local environmental organizations, joined by actors Mark Ruffalo and Debra Winger, as well as Robert F. Kennedy Jr., accused the EDF of “greenwashing” the practices of oil companies that engage in “fracking” of shale rock to extract oil and natural gas.

In a letter to EDF’s president, Fred Krupp, the groups said they were dismayed to see his group become a founding member earlier this year in the Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD), along with Chevron and Shell oil companies, the Heinz Endowments, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and others. On its Web site, the group says it is an “unprecedented, collaborative effort of environmental organizations, philanthropic foundations, energy companies and other stakeholders committed to safe, environmentally responsible shale resource development.”

I’ve always appreciated the principled and unyielding leadership of Fred Krupp and EDF on protecting the environment.  EDF, although no shrinking violet, recognizes that throwing stones or litigating don’t always lead to the best outcome; rather, there are times when it’s okay and actually healthy to holster those legal guns, temporarily temper the rhetoric and put aside differences, and work together toward a shared vision that will lead to sustainable practices and better environmental outcomes.  The Center for Sustainable Shale Development is committed to continuous improvement to ensure safe and environmentally responsible development of our abundant shale resources.  Along with the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, headed by my good friend, Paul King, EDF’s engagement will make that commitment even stronger.  I wish EDF and this new partnership all the best.