The Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD), a collaboration of environmental organizations and energy companies encouraging the development of shale gas resources in the Appalachian region, announced today that it has certified CONSOL Energy’s Appalachian Basin operations as having successfully completed its rigorous evaluation and verification process. Full CSSD certification confirms conformance with all 15 of the Center’s Performance Standards.
“By demonstrating it has met CSSD’s 15 Performance Standards, CONSOL Energy has shown that in 15 critical areas, its Appalachian Basin operations meet or exceed state and federal air and water management regulatory requirements,” said Susan LeGros, CSSD president and executive director. “CONSOL Energy is to be commended for making the commitment to meet these standards and to serve as a model for other companies in the region that it will work to build trust among a diverse, cross-section of stakeholders by operating beyond a compliance mindset.”
Like all companies that earn CSSD certification, CONSOL Energy’s certified operations must continue to adhere to CSSD’s Performance Standards in the Appalachian Basin, integrating the organization’s publicly available best practicesinto its long-term continuous improvement processes. CSSD will monitor adherence and continue to build and expand on its initial 15 Performance Standards. CSSD officially launched its certification process in January 2014 (see “Shale Development Certification Program Opens Its Doors”).
The evaluation and verification process for CONSOL was conducted by auditor Bureau Veritas, a global specialist in testing, inspection and certification under contract to CSSD. The auditor conducted a pre-audit to familiarize itself with the company’s management system and determine audit readiness of its Appalachian Basin operations.
The audit teams conducted full-scale certification audits starting in October 2014 at the company. These audits consisted of in-depth documentation review, staff interviews at company’s offices and a field-based component that verifiedoperational practices were in conformance with applicable standards. CSSD’s Performance Verification Protocol details the frequency and intensity of the field and audit activities.
The Bureau Veritas audit team visited 30 CONSOL Energy sites (20 in Pennsylvania, six in West Virginia and four in Ohio). Once the audit was complete, Bureau Veritas submitted its findings in a report to CSSD. The organization’s internal Certification Decision Committee, consisting of individuals not aligned with any CSSD participant, then reviewed the audit report and determined eligibility for certification.
Certification is valid for 24 months, after which companies can seek renewal. During the 24-month period, there is at least one assurance audit to ensure that conformance with the standards is being maintained.