Niagara Gazette

Local News

February 11, 2013

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

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — "It's no different than what we've been doing from when we were part of the city until now," Drof said. "We do take in hauled waste."

Fracking has been a touchy issue for the Cuomo administration with environmental advocates demanding that the practice be banned, while industry insiders and land owners hoping to sell to the companies are urging the state to allow the practice under strict regulations.

A series of recently released polls from the Sienna Research Institute and Quinnipac University suggest public opinion on the fracking ban is narrowly split.

The DEC and New York State Department of Health have been studying the impact of gas drilling for more than four years in an effort to determine whether the practice will be allowed in New York as Cuomo tries to placate constituents and interests on both sides of the issue

Environmental advocates say that even if the ban is lifted, the DEC cannot ensure that hydrofracking wastewater treated in the Falls, which would be discharged into the river after it is processed, would be safe.

Anne Rabe, a campaign coordinator for the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, said that even if the treatment plant is able to clean the majority of toxins out of the fracking fluid, it cannot get them all. And the trace amounts of radium that are infused into the water deep underground cannot be extracted, she said.

"Over time, that's going to reduce the efficacy of the treatment plant," Rabe said. "Wastewater treatment facilities are not built to deal with the treatment of a mixture of chemicals and radioactive materials."

Sandra Steingraber, a distinguished scholar in residence with Ithaca College's Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences, sits on the advisory committee for the anti-fracking coalition New Yorkers Against Fracking.

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