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Energy

Proposed legislation would ban import and treatment of fracking waste in New York

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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ Shipping hydraulic fracturing waste product into the state for treatment or disposal would be banned under legislation introduced Tuesday by Democrats in the state Senate.
 
The four bills released by the minority conference Tuesday would also ban the waste from being used to melt ice off roads and bar treatment facilities and landfills from accepting the byproduct.

Fracking involves injecting a mixture of water, sand and chemicals at high pressure to extract oil and gas from rock formations.
 
While the state has a moratorium on fracking until a review by the health department is complete, it has not stopped the waste byproduct from being disposed of in landfills. Critics say that could be a problem because the liquid potentially contains contaminants and radioactive material.
 
‘Because we do not allow hydraulic fracturing to take place here in New York state, it makes no sense to me to allow the waste product from this process in Pennsylvania to be transferred here,’ said Democratic Sen. Cecila Tkaczyk, whose bill was voted down in committee last month.  
 
One bill argues that landfills and treatment facilities in the state are not equipped to handle the potentially radioactive waste, which could run off into surrounding land and contaminate 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.

Proponents of fracking argue that the industry will bring much needed jobs to New York's Southern Tier and western region, which lies over the gas-rich Marcellus Shale.
 
Neighboring Pennsylvania allows fracking.

Here's an outline of the four-bill legislative package with links to the legislation.

  • Prohibit the transportation of any waste product derived from hydraulic fracturing operations. (S.5123-A – Senator Tkaczyk). This legislation will prohibit high volume hydraulic fracturing waste or waste by-products from being transported or shipped into or out of New York State for treatment, discharge, disposal, or storage purposes. On April 29, through a parliamentary procedure, S.5123-A was brought before the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, where it was unfortunately voted down by the Republican/IDC Majority.
  • Prohibits the Use of Hydraulic Fracturing Waste Products on New York State Roads and Highways (S.3333-A – Senator Gipson). This initiative would ban waste water from hydrofracking operations, which can contain a variety of chemical and radioactive contaminants, from being used on highways for purposes such as melting ice.
  • Prohibit the Sale of Any Liquid Waste Products Derived from Hydrofracking Operations (S.3433 – Senator Krueger). This legislation will require the Department of Environmental Conservation to establish regulations concerning the proper disposal of waste products caused by the hydraulic fracturing process. Senate Bill S.3433 would also prohibit the sale or use of any liquid waste product caused from hydrofracking operations.
  • Ban water treatment facilities and landfills from accepting hydrofracking waste products (S.5412 – Senator Gipson). This bill would ban the acceptance of wastewater from oil or natural gas extraction activities at wastewater treatment facilities and landfills. This initiative recognizes that currently, treatment facilities are not properly equipped to handle hydrofracking waste chemicals, contaminants, and radioactive materials, and therefore this waste poses a threat to New York’s environment, waterways and public health.
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