Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Comment Period Open on that Fracking Infrastructure

We may not have any fracking – well, at least not horizontal hydraulic fracturing – going on in New York, but there’s plenty of infrastructure being built to transport, liquefy, and store fracked gas. And to ship it overseas – which will only drive those winter gas heating prices higher. Not only do these fracking infrastructure projects “pave the way” for future industrialized “fracked” drilling, but it reinforces our already entrenched dependency on fossil fuels. They also vent methane into our air – a climate-changing emission much more potent than carbon dioxide – and threaten public health and safety.

During this month, people in NY have an opportunity to comment on three projects:

  • The DEC draft rules for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), which would permit LNG facilities of any size throughout the state, promote massive industrialization, and endanger communities. If adopted, the rules would lift a prohibition on new LNG facilities in New York State  - a prohibition put in place in 1973 after an explosion on Staten Island killed 40 people.
  • The FERC review of the Natural Gas Storage expansion plan, which would bury natural gas in underground salt caverns and turn the Finger Lakes region into a major storage and transportation hub for gas. The project on Seneca Lake threatens the drinking water for 100,000 people.
  • The Port Ambrose Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) port, near the entrance of New York Harbor. This proposed floating "port" would connect ships to onshore gas infrastructure and allow for the import and export of LNG.  It would also discharge toxic chemicals into a fishing area and wildlife migration route.  The scoping comment period for this mega-project ended in August, but Governors Cuomo and Christie can still veto it.

To help us learn more about the science and regulations for these projects, Sandra Steingraber has once again created a “30 Days of  Comments” website. Today's science lesson is about methane. The regulations don't mention anything about venting methane into the atmosphere, or about recapturing it. Why not, asks Steingraber. Why not indeed?

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