NY Policymakers Seek Ban on Fracking Waste

New York has a pending bill establishing a moratorium on the disposal of fluids used in hydraulic fracturing that occurs outside of the state, according to legislation introduced Tuesday by Democrats in the state Senate.

The minority conference released four bills proposing to ban shipping hydraulic fracturing waste product into the state for treatment or disposal as well as ban the waste from being used to melt ice off roads and bar treatment facilities, and landfills from accepting the byproduct.

New York, currently holding a moratorium on fracking permits until it completes an environmental impact review that launched in 2008, is reviewing whether fracking should be allowed between its borders. The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) launched its review of large-scale fracturing about 6 years ago.

“There is no end in sight for the ongoing 5-year review of fracking in New York,” commented Gov. Cuomo and Dr. Shah in December 2013, after a Cabinet Meeting. “My timeline is whatever Commissioner Shah needs to do it right and feel comfortable … and whatever Commissioner Joe Martens feels to be comfortable,” said Gov. Cuomo. “And I don’t want to put any undue pressure on them that would artificially abbreviate what they’re doing.”

Hydraulic fracturing waste product from nearby states is landing in upstate New York landfills, which critics lament that it poses a problem because the liquid potentially contains contaminants and radioactive material.

Currently the Chemung County landfill accepts safe drill cuttings, according to Marcellus Drilling News. “A lot of landfills” accept drilling cuttings in the state, remarked Executive Tom Santulli, which benefits all county residents by keeping landfill operating costs lower than they otherwise would be.

One bill out of the four bills released Tuesday argues that landfills and treatment facilities in the state are not equipped to handle the potentially radioactvie waste, potentially contaminating water sources. The Department of Environmental Conservation would also establish regulations for disposal of waste product and prohibit the sale or use of the liquid waste.


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