Albany -- The gas industry has quietly submitted a new proposal to use liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) instead of water to frack for natural gas in New York.
In response, environmental organizations released a letter urging the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to reject this specific proposal, and to prohibit any LPG fracking.
Propane fracking is extremely dangerous, with a limited but disastrous track record of explosions and injuries to workers. It poses many of the same risks and harms as high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF), which New York banned in 2015 in response to the serious threats it poses to the environment and public health.
Environmental organizations sent the letter - available here - as an official comment on the DEC's scoping process. The organizations noted similar, failed attempts by the gas industry in 2012 and 2015. Organizations on the letter include Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, Food & Water Watch, Frack Action, National Resources Defense Council, Catskill Mountainkeeper, NYPIRG, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, and others.
As the letter details, LPG fracking poses significant risks to groundwater contamination, radioactive wastes, dangers in transport of LPG, harmful air emissions, and direct and indirect impacts upon public health. In reviewing the specific proposal and propane fracking more broadly, the DEC must consider all of the evidence behind the state's ban on HVHF, as well as approximately 1,000 additional scientific studies since then, which overwhelmingly find that drilling, fracking, and its infrastructure pose serious risks and harms to the environment and public health. The evidence makes clear that DEC must deny the proposal and prohibit propane fracking to protect the environment, drinking water, and public health.
In addition, the organizations call on the DEC to review the full extent of the climate impacts associated with propane fracking, in light of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act’s aggressive greenhouse gas emission targets. Propane fracking includes significant life cycle GHG emissions, making it directly at odds with New York's climate change mitigation law.