Viridian Energy Chief Strategy Officer Cami Boehme (right) presents EO's Director of Shale Programs Josh Garrett (left) with a check for $25,000 from the Simply Right Natural Gas Fund to support EO's work for more responsible natural gas development in the U.S.
Equitable Origin marked an exciting milestone in the organization's growth today with the announcement that it has received a $25,000 grant from Viridian Energy to expand its work on standards for responsible natural gas development. The grant from Viridian, an electricity and natural gas retailer, comes from its Simply Right Natural Gas Fund, a fund created and maintained by the company to mitigate the social and environmental effects of natural gas extraction and delivery--a purpose strikingly similar to EO's mission to protect people and the environment by ensuring that energy development is conducted under the highest social and environmental standards. That shared purpose combined with a shared vision of bringing more responsible energy options to consumers made Viridian and EO a natural fit for collaboration.
The grant will support Equitable Origin's ongoing work to review and revise the EO100 for Shale Oil and Gas standards, which are currently in draft form. Since the publication of the draft shale standards in March, EO has collected lots of helpful feedback from a diverse collection of stakeholders on how to make the standards more comprehensive, fair, and effective. As that feedback is integrated into an updated draft of the standards, EO is focused on one stakeholder group that is integral to the standards development process: affected communities. After all, people who have lived with or currently live with shale development and fracking in their communities are experts on the effects of those development operations. EO is dedicated to creating performance standards that address the impacts of shale development as directly and comprehensively as possible, and the best way to do that is to ask affected residents about those impacts. What are the things that you like most and least about living near shale development operations? How have those operations changed your daily life? What changes would you like companies to make in the way they operate? Effective standards that minimize negative impacts and maximize positive ones lie in the answers to those questions.
EO's preferred method of consulting with affected communities is through Consultation Workshops, town hall-style meetings where community members can review the draft standards and share their perspectives on how to make shale development more responsible and safer for people and the environment. The Simply Right Natural Gas grant will directly support the planning and execution of more Consultation Workshops, enabling EO to consult a broader spectrum of communities in several shale development regions in the U.S.
Natural gas is an essential fuel to powering the United States and the world, and as the lowest-carbon fossil fuel, it offers significant climate benefits over oil and coal. But as natural gas drilling has proliferated in the U.S., almost entirely in areas with shale gas resources, it has become clear that there are serious side-effects that accompany the benefits of abundant and affordable shale gas. Scientific studies have linked fracking and other shale development activities to drinking water contamination, air pollution, and even earthquakes. Although the science behind all these impacts is somewhat unsettled, there is no doubt that they, along with other negative social and environmental effects, are very real, and they are borne exclusively by the people and environments near shale development operations.
Equitable Origin's EO100 for Shale Oil and Gas Operations is an innovative approach to reducing the risks of shale development and fracking and distributing the benefits more equitably. Thanks to Viridian Energy and its Simply Right Natural Gas fund, EO will deepen and broaden its work on the shale standards, starting with direct engagement with the people who matter most: Americans who live with the immediate impacts of shale development so that the rest of us can enjoy affordable, plentiful, and lower-carbon fuel.