ALBANY, NY (06/16/2011)(readMedia)-- The New York Water Rangers, individuals and organizations working to protect state waters from dirty gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," thanked the State Assembly today for passing legislation that would close a loophole in state law allowing the gas industry to circumvent requirements for the management and disposal of hazardous waste (A.7013 / S.4616). The bill would update state law so that any drilling waste that meets the characteristics of hazardous waste is subject to all state regulations related to its generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal. The bill passed the Assembly today by a vote of 79 to 32 (unofficial vote count), with strong bipartisan support.
"The New York Water Rangers applaud the Assembly for bravely stepping up to protect our waters from hazardous waste. What's so special about the gas industry that drillers get a free pass on hazardous waste? If wastewater generated by dirty gas drilling and fracking is hazardous, it must be treated as such to protect our communities and our drinking water.
Our families deserve to know what's going into our water and if it's safe to drink. After millions of gallons of radioactive wastewater was dumped into drinking water supplies in Pennsylvania, that state asked drillers to stop disposing wastewater in their local treatment plants. New York would be right to do the same. It's the least we can do to protect our water from fracking."
The New York Water Rangers are now calling on the State Senate to pass the bill before the Legislative Session ends on June 20th.
The Assembly passed legislation last week that would extend the current moratorium on fracking until next year.
Due to a loophole in current state law, solid and liquid fracking wastes are not subject to oversight or testing. As such, the state's Department of Environmental Conservation has no record of fracking wastes treated by Publicly Owned Treatment Works in Auburn, Watertown, Buffalo, Cortland and Cayuga Heights. Hazardous wastewater may have passed through these facilities, which are unprepared to handle fracking wastes with toxic amounts of salts, heavy metals and radioactive particles.
The New York Water Rangers campaign is supported by a network of organizations working to protect the rights and health of New Yorkers and one of our most precious environmental resources-water-from the dangers of irresponsible, poorly regulated, and under-inspected natural gas exploration and development. The campaign was launched by Environmental Advocates of New York and is supported by Catskill Mountainkeeper, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Earthjustice, EARTHWORKS Oil & Gas Accountability Project, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Riverkeeper. Visit www.CleanWaterNotDirtyDrilling.org to learn more.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Erica Ringewald, Environmental Advocates of New York, 518.210.9903
Tina Posterli, Riverkeeper, 914.478.4501 x239
Sarah Eckel, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, 202-486-9007