DEP, Upstate Landowners Discuss Alternative Fracking

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An upstate New York landowners group may have found a way to get around the state's de facto moratorium on shale gas drilling — by using propane instead of water for hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as fracking.

Department of Environmental Conservation spokeswoman Emily DeSantis said Thursday that the agency has met with the Tioga County landowners group to discuss shale gas development using the new fracking technology. GasFrac Energy Services in Calgary, Canada, uses liquid propane rather than millions of gallons of chemically treated water to stimulate a well's production.

Chris Denton, the lawyer representing a group of upstate landowners, said that the group hopes to prove the gas production potential in the region.

DeSantis says fracking with propane would be subject to current permitting rules set in 1992.

Fracking is currently banned in the state while regulations are being updated. A public comment period on the regulations ended in January.