Buffalo's fracking ban could be model for Cleveland

Apr 12, 2011

Laws banning hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in Buffalo could become a model for other Great Lakes cities.

Buffalo Common Council member Richard Fontana speaks to the Cleveland City Council today in an effort to convince other Lake Erie cities to pass bans on fracking and the treatment of the wastewater created in the fracking process.

Earlier this year, Buffalo became the second city in the United States to ban the controversial method of natural gas drilling. The council also voted to keep the toxic fluid used during drilling out of local water treatment plants.

While there is little chance of fracking taking place in Buffalo, especially horizontal methods, the council wanted to pave the way for other communities to take up the issue.

“Many of these waters are not treated property when they go through the sewer treatment plants. It then is dumped in Lake Erie where we have to drink our water from,” Fontana says. “We’re looking [for other cities to pass similar legislation] because if we protect the water, it’s important that they also protect the water.”

Fontana has also sent letters to Detroit and other Great Lakes cities offering to speak about the issue and offer draft legislation ripe for mimicking.

The Town Board of Wales, New York votes this month on a fracking ban, using Buffalo’s legislation as a model.