Technological advances in the use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques have led to a significant increase in oil and gas production across the United States, especially from shale formations that had previously been too costly to develop.
While these expanded supplies of hydrocarbons present both significant economic development and environmental opportunities for the nation, it’s also given rise to environmental concerns that could undermine these benefits if they’re not adequately addressed.
Many organizations and government agencies have focused their attention on the potential for drinking water contamination, water pollution and air quality impacts from the development of our shale resources. Less attention has been directed to fragmentation and other damage that could occur to forests, streams, wetlands or other natural areas from the construction of roads, well pads and pipelines, and water withdrawals.
The Nature Conservancy has long been active in many regions where production is now occurring, and is committed to working with a diverse range of stakeholders to ensure that shale resources are developed in a manner that aligns with our broader conservation objectives.
As one of the world's leading financial institutions, JPMorgan Chase recognizes that economic growth and rising living standards fundamentally rely on the abundance and vitality of the planet’s resources and ecosystems. Supporting a more environmentally sustainable global economy is a challenge with real implications for every sector of modern society, including financial services.
Solutions in Action
The JPMorgan Chase Foundation has provided a generous $200,000 grant to support the Conservancy’s effort to expand our work on responsible shale development in the Appalachian region and in other shale formations across the U.S. This support enables the Conservancy to pursue a number of activities in 2013, including:
- Assessing cumulative impacts across larger landscapes and communities that are affected by shale development;
- Consulting with shale developers on environmental impacts and management practices to avoid or offset those impacts;
- Investigating the potential benefits of coordination among companies to reduce impacts on wildlife habitat and human communities;
- Working with developers, government agencies, communities and other stakeholders to build a business case for better practices and/or coordination; and
- Participating in regional and national dialogues that are focused on improving the environmental performance of shale development.