Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)
NY DEC needs more information on a permit application for propane fracking; calling the application incomplete on what they say is a “unique technology.”
It only took nine months, but the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which moves like a glacier, has finally responded to a request by a group of farmers in Tioga County, NY to use propane fracking technology (also known as LPG fracturing or “liquefied petroleum gas”) on a shale well. Last July a group of landowners flying under the name of The Snyder Farm Group (five families make up the group) contracted with Tioga Energy Partners (based in Texas) to drill a fracked Utica Shale well, and follow it up with drilling a fracked Marcellus Shale well, using liquefied petroleum gas (LPG or propane) and sand (see NY Landowners File to Frack Horizontal Well w/Waterless Tech and NY Heroes: More Details on NY Propane Fracking Proposal).
The wells will not use water for fracking and therefore, according to the landowners, avoid the ban on high volume fracking recently imposed by Andrew Cuomo. It’s just coming to light that last month the DEC issued a “notice of incomplete application” for the proposal (see a copy here) and requested more information on things as truck traffic, how long it will take to frack, the type of storage tanks that will be used, etc. This is more Cuomo tried and true delay as long as you can, then delay some more. It’s always worked so well for the corrupt Cuomo, why not keep doing it?
Here’s the details:
The state Department of Environmental Conservation is requesting more information about a proposal to frack for natural gas in the Southern Tier using propane and sand rather than water.
The energy industry and environmentalists agree the proposal has the potential to bypass the ban on fracking that Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered in December 2014. The ban applied to high-volume hydraulic fracturing, which uses large volumes of water mixed with sand and chemicals to create fractures in rock that release gas.
Under the proposal by Tioga Partners LLC for test wells on a hay and corn farm in Tioga County, the fracking would be done using liquefied petroleum gas and sand instead of water to split the rock. The gelled propane would be recaptured as a gas when it rises back to the surface.
Last month, the DEC issued a notice of incomplete application for the proposal and requested additional information on such things as truck traffic, the length of the fracking process and the number of storage tanks that would be required. Linda Collart, the DEC’s regional mineral resources supervisor, also wrote in the notice that the production phase of the process would be a “potential contributor of greenhouse gas emissions.”
Collart said the department is trying to “make a determination if this relatively unique fracturing technology that has not heretofore been subject to a full environmental analysis has the potential to cause significant adverse environmental impacts.”
Meanwhile, anti-drilling radicals like Walter Hang from Toxics Targeting are pressuring Cuomo to ban all fracking everywhere for all time to prevent someone from slipping through the back door and fracking like the farmers in Tioga County plan to do. Hang and others of his ilk know that as soon as a single shale well is drilled and fracked and doesn’t cause any environmental harm their lies about fracking are forever exposed in the Empire State.
Some environmental advocates say there are too many loopholes in the state’s fracking ban and that the Cuomo administration needs to close them.
“Governor Cuomo should heed the requests of thousands of New Yorkers who asked his administration to make sure that all forms of shale fracking are included in our state’s high-volume hydraulic fracking prohibition,” said Walter Hang, an anti-fracking activist who runs Toxic Targeting. “It would be inconceivable and irresponsible for the Governor to permit propane fracking without first conducting a comprehensive State Environmental Quality Review as required by law.”
And this about Hang’s efforts to ban all fracking:
Local fractivists are calling on Governor Cuomo to prohibit all forms of fracking, not just methods that involve water.
Walter Hang, President of the environmental firm Toxics Targeting, held a news conference today to discuss the latest developments involving waterless fracking.
These proposed methods would utilize gelled propane, a form of Nitrogen foam as well as other materials.
A Tioga County energy group recently applied to the State’s DEC to approve gelled propane fracking in the Town of Barton.
According to the DEC’s response letter, the application was incomplete and needs revisions.
However, Hang says the measure could still be approved without an extensive environmental study.
“We’re exposing the myth that Governor Cuomo banned fracking in New York. The truth is, he only prohibited hydrofracking and even that definition is so poorly worded that we’re not even sure if it would sustain a challenge,” said Hang.
Hang has sent a number of letters to Cuomo’s office urging him to prohibit all forms of fracking in New York.
He also calls for a full environmental analysis of the effects of waterless fracking.
We hate to throw cold water on the enthusiasm for the Tioga County propane fracking proposal, but just read the language used by the DEC in their “we need more info” letter. Referring to propane fracking as new tech that hasn’t been fully analyzed is a tip-off that the DEC will reject the application. Don’t shoot the messenger! We’re just keepin’ it honest.
Click here for a copy of the “we need more information” letter from the DEC, which took them nine whole months to produce.