The Center for Sustainable Shale Development, an organization dedicated to promoting collaboration between the oil and gas industry and environmental groups, has announced it is accepting applications for its new voluntary compliance program for fracking in the Appalachian Basin.

Comprised of fifteen performance standards, the program is designed to cover a range of fracking-related activities such as wastewater disposal, emissions controls, groundwater monitoring, and well-casing design. According to the CSSD, the standards “represent consensus on what is achievable and protective of human health and the environment.” Further information about the standards can be found here.

Operators who apply to the program gain certification by demonstrating compliance with all of the CSSD standards through a third-party audit. The French firm, Bureau Veritas, has been enlisted to administer these audits which are expected to take between three and five months. Certification lasts for two years and includes ongoing compliance monitoring.

A number of the CSSD’s industry partners plan to participate in the program, including Consol Energy, Chevron, and Royal Dutch Shell. A representative from Shell, one of the CSSD’s founding members, said of the program, “we are proud of the achievement of [the CSSD] and look forward to other operators in the region seeing value in this approach.”

But few companies not already associated with the CSSD have expressed interest in the certification.  Instead, many shale developers are opting to focus on meeting state and federal regulatory requirements that are already in place. Additional coverage of the CSSD’s program can be found here.