Niagara Gazette

Local News

February 11, 2013

Amid debate, Falls Water Board used lobbyist to explore fracking in Albany

Niagara Gazette — The Niagara Falls Water Board hired a professional lobbyist in Albany to help it explore the possibility of treating wastewater from natural gas drilling sites while the debate was playing out in the public.

The water board's lobbyist deal with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office, the New York State Legislature and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on natural gas drilling and water treatment matters, according to reports filed with the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics, a state entity that oversees lobbying activities. 

The board hired e3communications, a buffalo lobbying and public relations firm, from January 2011 to April of 2012, when the board voted to discontinue its relationship with the company, according to the documents.

The process of high-volume hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as fracking, creates thousands of gallons of waste water at each well. That water — which contains chemicals, traces of radioactive material and other toxins picked up from deep below the earth's surface — needs to be treated before being returned to the water table.

And so New York state's decision on whether to allow fracking in the gas-rich Marcellus shale — an underground rock formation that runs across southern New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and West — could present an opportunity for the water board.

Even if Niagara Falls City Council members voted unanimously in March to ban hydrofracking-related activities, including “fracking” waste, within city limits.

Water board officials announced last year that they were considering the possibility of treating wastewater created during the drilling process at the Falls water treatment facility as a way to generate additional revenue for the water board and to cut costs for ratepayers in the city. 

Paul Drof, the executive director of the utility, said the board's decision to work with a lobbyist was not an indication that the board supports fracking, but rather an effort to explore and better understand the issues surrounding the controversial process. 

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
House Ads
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page
Poll

Do you think cigarette sales to non-Native American customers should be taxed on reservations?

Yes. Items should be taxed like they are everywhere else.
No, the indian reservations are sovereign land and they are selling them on their land.
Not up to me. Native Americans decide the rules on their land.
Don't care. Smoking isn't good for you.
     View Results