A Southern Tier landowners’ coalition has announced that they have completed a Memorandum of Understanding with companies interested in fracking wells with propane rather than water.  From an article by Tom Wilbur:

The leadership of a group of landowners in Tioga County, New York has reached an agreement with gas drillers to begin developing the Marcellus Shale using liquid propane as a fracking agent.

Brokers of the deal, between eCorp, GasFrac Energy Services, and the Tioga County Landowners Association, believe that fracking with natural gas is not included under a New York state moratorium that prevents drillers from using high volume hydraulic fracturing. The moratorium was put in place in 2008 due to environmental concerns, pending the completion of a review by the state DEC.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding announced this afternoon, the members of the Tioga County coalition will form an LLC called Southern Tier Energy Partners to participate in the deal.

Does the current de-facto moratorium extend to fracking with propane?  Is an EIS required before the DEC issues permits, opening a possible 130,000 acres to drilling?

And why, we wonder, is this deal structured with the landowners participating in development– and how does that impact their liability if there are explosions, as there were when this technique was tried in Canada?

UPDATE:

As reported in the Elmira Star-Gazette, DEC spokesperson Emily DeSantis says an Environmental Impact Statement MAY be required:

If we receive a formal application, we will follow the current permitting process as set forth in the 1992 Supplemental Generic Impact Statement. However, our review may require additional information and additional analysis, including an environmental impact statement, if warranted.

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