Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Propane Fracking Can't Go Forward without a New Environmental Review

Energy
Propane Fracking Can't Go Forward without a New Environmental Review

Natural Resources Defense Council

By Kate Sindig

Used with permission of Switchboard - NRDC

Several recent media reports have described plans by a Canadian gas company, GasFrac Energy Services, Inc., and the Tioga County Landowners Association to drill gas wells using the unconventional technique of fracturing with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Troublingly, representatives of the parties have indicated that their intention is to circumvent the on-going environmental review of fracking in New York—which has resulted in the current de facto moratorium on any new high-volume fracking—by using an alternative fracking agent, i.e., LPG instead of water.

LPG’s main constituent is propane, a highly flammable, and hence explosive gas. It is used in a few limited locations as an alternative to fracking with a water-based fracking fluid, but has not, to our knowledge, ever been used in the Marcellus Shale.

Yesterday, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), together with 14 of our allies and a well-respected geologist, sent a letter to New York Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens making clear our position that any application to frack with LPG in New York would trigger the need to undertake a new full environmental review. In short, LPG fracking—and its particular risks and impacts—is not analyzed in either the most recent draft supplemental generic environmental impact statement or the earlier 1992 oil and gas development GEIS. As such, it cannot legally be undertaken in New York absent the preparation of a full environmental review that evaluates its risks.

And it does present real risks—including some that are different in nature from those associated with “traditional” fracking. First and foremost is the risk of explosion—a risk highlighted by two major explosions last year at GasFrac well sites that injured fifteen workers and caused the company to suspend all of its operations for two weeks.

Other hazards relate to the trucking of thousands of gallons of LPG to well sites; compressing and re-condensing the LPG for reuse; mixing the LPG with chemicals, which, as with water-based fracking, is necessary for LPG fracking; and the generation of wastewaters contaminated with not only the usual toxic fracking brew but also explosive gas.

Give them points for creativity, I suppose, but don’t give GasFrac and Tioga County Landowners any permits for propane fracking in New York without first subjecting it to thorough review.

For more information, click here.

Colette Pichon Battle, attorney, founder, and executive director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy. Colette Pichon Battle

By Karen L. Smith-Janssen

Colette Pichon Battle gave a December 2019 TEDWomen Talk on the stark realities of climate change displacement, and people took notice. The video racked up a million views in about two weeks. The attorney, founder, and executive director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy (GCCLP) advocates for climate justice in communities of color. Confronted with evidence showing how her own South Louisiana coastal home of Bayou Liberty will be lost to flooding in coming years, the 2019 Obama Fellow dedicates herself to helping others still reeling from the impacts of Katrina face the heavy toll that climate change has taken—and will take—on their lives and homelands. Her work focuses on strengthening multiracial coalitions, advocating for federal, state, and local disaster mitigation measures, and redirecting resources toward Black communities across the Gulf South.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A palm tree plantation in Malaysia. Yann Arthus-Bertrand / Getty Images Plus

Between 2000 and 2013, Earth lost an area of undisturbed ecosystems roughly the size of Mexico.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A home burns during the Bobcat Fire in Juniper Hills, California on September 18, 2020. Kyle Grillot / AFP/ Getty Images

By Stuart Braun

"These are not just wildfires, they are climate fires," Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington State, said as he stood amid the charred remains of the town of Malden west of Seattle earlier this month. "This is not an act of God," he added. "This has happened because we have changed the climate of the state of Washington in dramatic ways."

Read More Show Less
A new report from Oxfam found that the wealthiest one percent of the world produced a carbon footprint that was more than double that of the bottom 50 percent of the world. PickPik

A new report from Oxfam found that the wealthiest one percent of the world produced a carbon footprint that was more than double that of the bottom 50 percent of the world, The Guardian reported. The study examined 25 years of carbon dioxide emissions and wealth inequality from 1990 to 2015.

Read More Show Less
The label of one of the recalled thyroid medications. FDA

If you are taking medication for an underactive thyroid, check your prescription.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch