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Few facilities in NYS equipped to handle fracking waste

water_Ron Dauphin.jpg
Ron Dauphin
via Flickr
It's going to be the crux of the fracking debate.

Jon Campbell at the Press & Sun-Bulletin reports that the real trouble with allowing hydrofracking to go forward in New York might be dealing with waste water from the process:

In New York, however, very few plants are equipped with that type of technology. "There may be certain industrial facilities that may be qualified to handle these materials, but we don't know of many," said James Tierney, assistant commissioner for water resources at the state Department of Environmental Conservation. "We don't know of anybody that is coming in right now and saying they want to be able to treat a million gallons of horizontal hydrofracking waste containing these chemical constituents." Accepting flow-back water from the natural gas industry could be a major revenue generator for local treatment plants, but upgrading plants to treat it would cost millions of dollars. Even with the upgrades, the composition of the fluid could be problematic. "This stuff has a lot of iron and other things in it," said Phillip Grayson, sewer pre-treatment administrator for the Village of Endicott's treatment plant. "Even with some kind of pre-treating, I think it's almost prohibitive for us because of our sewer-use ordinance. They would have to do a lot of work just to get it in the door for us."

There have already been some reports of fracking waste water being treated at plants not equipped for it, and Buffalo has banned the idea of treating waste water locally.

Nuclear power

The Republicans vying (or who at least appear to be vying) for the 2012 presidential nomination are all on board with nuclear power, reports Michael D. Shear at the New York Times' Caucus blog:

The ultimate outcome of the nuclear disaster in Japan is still far from clear, as officials in that country are desperately trying to gain control of the situation and prevent a total meltdown of the damaged reactors. It is just as unclear how the incident will play out in the 2012 campaign. At least at first blush, it does not look like any of the Republican candidates is likely to run away from the strong statements of support for nuclear energy. And President Obama, like the Republicans, is on record supporting an expansion of nuclear generation. In a major speech on energy policy last year, Mr. Obama bragged that his administration had “announced loan guarantees to break ground on America’s first new nuclear facility in three decades, a project that will create thousands of jobs.”

Offshore wind

The New York Power Authority is still weighing undisclosed applications for offshore wind somewhere in Lake Ontario or Lake Erie.  That's despite objections from many lakeshore communities, reports Linda Quinlan at the Messenger Post:

The New York Power Authority’s so-called GLOW (Great Lakes Offshore Wind) project appears to be moving forward, despite the fact that the Monroe County towns of Irondequoit, Greece and Webster all passed resolutions opposing wind turbines in Lake Ontario, off their shores, last fall. “While we respect the legislators’ views in their resolutions concerning the location for the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project, the New York Power Authority is keeping its options open concerning the project location,” said Connie Cullen, deputy director, media relations, for the authority, in a recent e-mail. Cullen explained that the authority is keeping its options open, “in order to continue listening to the greatest amount of public input possible.”

The authority hasn't shared which sites are being proposed for turbines, citing competitive concerns. 

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