Bill Memo: Ban on Fracking
This bill amends Article 23 of the environmental conservation law to permanently ban high-volume hydraulic fracturing, including horizontal fracking and gelled propane hydraulic fracturing in New York State.
This bill codifies the Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) administrative position to prohibit high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF), as well as extending the prohibition to gelled propane hydraulic fracturing (GPHF).
In 2015, DEC, through the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process, determined that HVHF posed significant environmental impacts and decided it would not process any permit application for HVHF, effectively prohibiting HVHF in New York State. The SEQR process did not consider the GPHF method.
Following DEC’s findings in 2015, the oil and gas industry proposed using GPHF, which was not considered in the SEQR process. GPHF uses liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to hydraulically fracture shale formations, a technique first developed in Canada. LPG fracking poses many of the same risks to the environment and public health as high-volume hydraulic fracking. LPG fracking is also extremely dangerous, using propane which is flammable. There have been several explosions and injuries to workers where it has been used.
In addition, fracking for oil and gas using any method is not aligned with New York State’s climate change goals established by Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which has New York transitioning its economy off of fossil fuels. Not only does fracking prolong the consumption of fossil fuels, but there is also considerable leakage of methane, a greenhouse gas, at every step of the gas extraction and transmission process.
Most recently, Tioga Energy Partners, LLC in Tioga County applied to DEC for a well drilling permit, proposing to use GPHF in New York’s Utica and Marcellus natural gas formations. New York should ban all types of fracking in the state to be fully protective of public health, the environment, and the climate.
Environmental Advocates NY Bill Rating: Substantial Benefit
Memo #: 18