The New York state Assembly on Tuesday passed a bill that would expand the state's ban of the controversial drilling process to extract natural gas to include a newer practice that uses carbon dioxide to extract methane and circumvents the current policy.

Fracking was first prohibited in New York back in 2014 and then permanently banned in the 2021 state budget.

The new bill, which passed the Assembly 98-50, would make it illegal to push methane out of shale using high-pressure liquified carbon dioxide. Environmental advocates argue the practice requires horizontal drilling into shale, which releases toxic hydrocarbons like methane and cancer-causing vapors that threaten the public health of workers, surrounding communities and the environment.

“There is no evidence to support the fossil fuel industry’s claim that carbon dioxide will be a safer method to extract oil and gas,” said Assemblymember Anna Kelles, a Democrat from Ithaca, in a statement. “However, there is an incredible amount of evidence that proves the dangers to our families if we allow fracking within our communities, a reason New York banned the extraction of oil and gas by fracking in 2020.”

Southern Tier CO2 to Clean Energy Solutions, otherwise known as Southern Tier Solutions, sent letters to landowners in Broome, Chemung and Tioga counties offering a $10 lease for them to make a profit after they extract methane and storage CO2 on their properties. In January, company president Bryce Phillips told Spectrum News 1 the company will strive to lease as many as 1 million acres to support up to a dozen 300 megawatt power plants, and to help power the Micron semiconductor chip manufacturing facility in the Syracuse area.

The measure now goes to the state Senate for consideration.

State Sen. Tom O'Mara, ranking member of the Finance Committee who represents Chemung and Tioga counties, told Spectrum News 1 in February that it is too soon to ban the practice and that setting regulations should be left to scientists and experts — not elected officials.


Facebook Twitter