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Center For Sustainable Shale Development Certifies Chevron Under New Standards

The Center for Sustainable Shale Development Thursday announced it has certified Chevron Appalachia (Chevron) as the first company to successfully complete the Center's rigorous evaluation and verification process.

Chevron has earned full CSSD certification against all 15 of the Center's Performance Standards that serve as the foundation for CSSD's recently-established independent third-party evaluation and verification program.  These standards center on operational performance as part of the producer's environmental stewardship and continuous improvement processes.

"The awarding of certification recognizes hundreds of hours of diligent and careful work on the part of many at Chevron, but also, countless others from environmental organizations, philanthropic foundations and other energy companies who dedicated so much to define a process for setting and verifying voluntary and uncompromisingly high performance expectations in shale gas development," said Susan LeGros, CSSD President and Executive Director.  "This achievement is a beginning, not only for this company, but also in the larger effort to demonstrate that through collaboration, a strong commitment to prudent and responsible practices, and a long-term view of environmental stewardship, we can build on what we have begun with the inception of CSSD."

Like any company that earns CSSD certification, Chevron must continue to adhere to CSSD's Performance Standards in the Appalachian Basin, integrating CSSD's publicly available best practices into the company's long-term continuous improvement process.  CSSD will monitor adherence and continue to build and expand on its initial 15 Performance Standards.

"While the Center's standards are not intended to replace existing regulation, our focus is to identify environmental stewardship areas where we can define standards that meet or exceed regulation, and to ensure that companies that qualify for certification continue to maintain these standards.  We will continue to collaborate with stakeholders with diverse perspectives to identify transparent, prudent and responsible practices in shale gas development," added LeGros.

A Comprehensive Process

To earn its CSSD certification, Chevron conducted a two-year preparatory process based on CSSD's initial 15 Performance Standards for air and water that were developed to reflect leading industry practices in the Appalachian Basin.

CSSD officially opened its certification process in January 2014, after which Chevron applied for initial certification in April 2014.

The evaluation and verification process was commenced by auditor Bureau Veritas, a global leader in testing, inspection and certification under contract to CSSD.  The auditor conducted a pre-audit to familiarize itself with Chevron's comprehensive management system and determine audit readiness of Chevron's Appalachian Basin operations.

After that, the audit team conducted the full-scale certification audit in June 2014 that consisted of in-depth documentation review, staff interviews at Chevron's offices and a field-based component that verified that Chevron's operational practices were in conformance with applicable standards.

In keeping with CSSD's Performance Verification Protocol, which details the frequency and intensity of the field and audit activities, the Bureau Veritas audit team visited 22 Chevron sites (16 in southwestern Pennsylvania, four in West Virginia, and two in Ohio) that represented Chevron's geographic and operational locations throughout the Appalachian Basin.

Once the audit was complete, Bureau Veritas submitted its findings in a report to CSSD.  CSSD'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, which is valid for 24 months, after which companies can seek renewal, is based on the Center's 15 initial Performance Standards for air and water.  Companies can seek certifications in Air & Climate, Water & Waste, or both, concurrently.  

Auditors evaluate the applicant's operations to the standards that are specific to the certification a company chooses.  A summary of a completed audit report will be made accessible on CSSD's website.

Third-Party Verification

The key components of the comprehensive verification and certification process include:  CSSD's 15 Initial Performance Standards focused on the protection of air and climate, water and waste; and standards, guidance and protocols for both the auditor and the producers applying for certification.

This includes Auditor Qualifications, Standards and Accreditation that established requirements for impartiality, knowledge, skill and resources to meet the scope, scale and geography of operations being evaluated. 

CSSD also provides Guidance for Third-Party Auditors, which details the kinds of data, reporting and documentation producers must provide to demonstrate conformance to CSSD's Performance Standards.

CSSD's guidance to Chevron included its Producer Performance Verification Protocol, which details the frequency and intensity of the field and office audit process, and it provides for extensive document review, on-site visits and follow-up activities.

Verification of conformance to the standards will continue to be monitored through the life of the two-year certification period.

All producers operating in the Appalachian region are eligible to apply for certification.

The Center is a collaborative between environmental organizations and energy companies to encourage prudent and responsible development of shale gas resources in the Appalachian region.

For more information, visit the Center for Sustainable Shale Development website.


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