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New fracking partnership takes first application

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A hotly debated partnership between major oil and gas companies and some environmental groups has accepted its first application under a program that aims to enforce tough but voluntary new standards for fracking in the northeast.

The Pittsburgh-based Center for Sustainable Shale says an unidentified drilling company has submitted an application to be certified under the program. Director Susan LeGros says an independent audit of that application is scheduled for early June.

The founding members of CSSD include energy companies Chevron, Shell, EQT and Consol Energy, along with the Clean Air Task Force, Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future, and other groups. On Wednesday the Richard King Mellon Foundation announced a new $150,000 grant to CSSD.

The gas-rich Marcellus Shale lies under large parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and New York.