Niagara Gazette

Local News

February 11, 2013

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


Niagara Gazette — She said laws and regulations now in place at both the state and federal level are not nearly stringent enough to protect the public.

For example, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 contains a provision that excludes the gas drilling industry from providing lists of the chemicals contained in the fracking fluid being sent to wastewater treatment facilities as is required by the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Additionally, the Safe Drinking Water Act lists 90 chemicals that utilities are required to test.

Most fracking water contains over 100 chemicals, Steingraber said.

"If we don't know what's in the mix, it's impossible to test whether we even have the means to clean it," Steingraber said.

Ted Janese III, the chairman of the water board, said with no end to the natural gas drilling debate in sight it was no longer fiscally responsible to continue to do business with the lobbyist from e3. 

"We don't know what the state's going to say and we don't want to spend thousands of dollars until we know," Janese said.

The decision to discontinue the relationship between the board and the company came on the heels of a city council resolution placing a ban on the practice of natural gas drilling and the treatment of waste water inside city limits.

Janese said the city ban did play a role in the decision to stop the lobbying activities, but only because there was no confidence that the state would make a determination on the practice in the near future.

The board had considered suing the city over the ban — something Janese supports revisiting if the state allows for the treatment of waste water. Until there is certainty on the subject, there is no point in spending money to litigate the issue, he said.

"It's not a fight worth taking up at this point in time," Janese said.

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