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Can ‘waterless fracking’ in New York sidestep Cuomo’s ban?


Oct. 8, 2015: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announces New York's involvement in the Under 2 MOU coalition in New York. (AP)

The administration of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has shown no signs of backing off the statewide prohibition on hydraulic fracturing the Democrat announced at the end of last year.

But a collection of landowners in one of the most economically depressed areas in the Empire State hopes the Cuomo administration will give it the OK to drill without using conventional “fracking” techniques, in the hopes of reaching some of the vast natural gas deposits in the Marcellus Shale formation.

“This is the evolution of this kind of technology,” said Adam Schultz, attorney for Tioga Energy Partners LLC, a collection of five farm families in Tioga County in what’s called the Southern Tier of New York.

Hydraulic fracturing is the process of sending highly pressurized water and chemicals from a well site deep into the ground to break up shale and rock formations to capture oil and natural gas.

But the Snyder Farm Group, based in Barton, wants to do something different: Replace the water with a propane gel that, along with sand, loosens the rock to get to the gas.

By doing so, the group says it avoids the Cuomo administration’s ban on “high-volume hydraulic fracturing,” which means using 300,000 gallons or more of water.

“The state specifically excluded this technology from the ban,” Schultz told “We’re not doing the high-volume hydraulic fracturing.”

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