Marcellus Shale Caucus Hears from Stronger
Today the House of Representatives Marcellus Shale Caucus held a session to hear from representatives of STRONGER. STRONGER (State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations) is an organization which assists states in documenting the environmental regulations associated with the exploration, development and production of crude oil and natural gas. It is a non-profit which has received funding from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, and from oil and gas industry sources.
Congressman Tom Reed, Co-Chairman of the Marcellus Shale Caucus, lauded STRONGER’s organization as a model approach to evaluating regulation. “STRONGER brings together various stakeholders from all portions of the spectrum,” Reed said. “The idea is that no one group – whether it be the oil and gas industry, environmentalists, or government regulators- has a monopoly on information and best practices. I like that STRONGER involves a diverse set of opinions and tries to find an acceptable path forward. We are all impacted by the final process.”
“Rather than approach various stakeholders as adversaries, it seeks to find the evolving common ground,” Reed explained. “It is transparent and encourages public participation. With an issue as emotionally charged as natural gas exploration, that is important. One of the goals of the caucus is to bring people together and cut through some of the emotion so we can focus on the science."
Reed noted that STRONGER’s remarks regarding individual states having strong regulatory structures in place and its advice that regulations must be regularly reviewed in light of technology advances were particularly useful and highlighted the take-aways from the session.
The Marcellus Shale Caucus plans to engage with additional organizations as it seeks open discussion and debate in frequent briefings and field hearings in member districtsin order to hear from front line leaders in the industry and local citizen groups.
More information on STRONGER can be found at its website, www.strongerinc.org.