Posted at: 10/30/2013 5:46 PM
By: Dan Bazile
ALBANY -- Dozens of protesters gathered on Broadway in Albany trying to get the attention of the Department of Environmental Conservation. They said the agency is trying to give the natural gas industry a back door to high volume hydrofracking by lifting a moratorium on Liquefied Natural Gas or LNG.
"Like the gorilla through the gate, this would allow all sorts of LNG facilities, which would support fracking and expand the natural gas infrastructure, which is the wrong direction for New York," said John Armstrong, one of the organizers of the rally.
Right now, there are only 3 LNG facilities in New York State. A moratorium to build new ones was put in place after an explosion at one of the facilities back in 1973, killing 40 workers. The new regulation would lift that moratorium. The rally came just before DEC held a public hearing on the proposal. Those who support it say the move has nothing to do with hydrofracking.
"The only connection is gas. We were a little surprised by the turnout," said Darren Suarez from the Business Council.
Protesters say it has to do with transportation. When liquefied, natural gas takes 600 times less space. They believe expanding LNG facilities will make it easier for the industry to ship the natural gas from fracking overseas where they'll get more bang for their buck.
"It's deceptive and misguided from the DEC. They claim it's to create small scale fueling stations," Armstrong said.
Small stations are really the purpose, according to DEC officials. They said it's not only good for the environment, but also good for the economy and truckers prefer it over diesel fuel.
"The main thing that has changed in the last few years is it's has been an economic change in the price of natural gas and diesel fuel," said DEC Bureau of Technical Support Director Andrew English.
DEC plans to make a decision on Liquefied Natural Gas after the public comment period ends on December 4th. The state is still considering whether to allow high volume hydrofracking.