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From Inside Climate News:
Waterless Fracking Method Could Sidestep NY Gas Drilling Ban
Amid skepticism from engineers and environmentalists, landowners and drilling company bet on LPG fracking, which uses propane instead of water.
A plan to extract shale gas and oil from 135,000 acres in Tioga County, N.Y., could break through the state's hydraulic fracturing moratorium, because the wells would be fracked not with water but with liquefied petroleum gas, or LPG, a mixture of mostly propane.
A relatively new technology, LPG fracking doesn't fall under New York's current hydraulic fracturing moratorium. Instead it could be permitted under the New York Department of Environmental Conservation's 1992 Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, according to Emily DeSantis, the DEC's director of public information.
DeSantis said LPG fracking would also require an additional assessment under the state's Environmental Quality Review Act, or even a separate environmental impact statement "if the proposed activity may result in significant adverse environmental impacts not previously or adequately addressed."
New York placed a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in 2010, after environmentalists and some residents began worrying that hydraulic fracturing might contaminate the watershed that supplies water to New York City and other parts of the East Coast.
The moratorium won't be lifted until a new Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement is complete. The DEC expects to finish the work on that document by the end of the year.
The Tioga County Landowners Association announced in March that the 2,000 families it represents will lease 135,000 acres to Houston-based eCorp International. The fracking will be done by Calgary-based GasFrac Energy Services, which pioneered the LPG process.
InsideClimate News and the Albany Times Union reported in November that while LPG fracking still faces skepticism and comes with its own risks, it has several environmental benefits. By forgoing the use of water, it eliminates an entire waste stream—the toxic "flowback" water. GasFrac also claims that LPG requires 75 percent fewer truck trips and a smaller well-pad than hydraulic fracturing....MORE