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Senator: hydrofracking an unmitigated disaster

Updated: 05/14/2014 10:12 AM
Created: 05/13/2014 6:41 PM WNYT.com
By: Dan Levy

ALBANY - In Albany on Tuesday, a state senator asked a group of environmental experts if there's anything scarier going on in New York then the delivery of hydrofracking waste material into our communities. The response didn't exactly settle that inquisition.

At a time when there's already a moratorium on hydraulic fracking in New York, Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk (D - Duanesburg) wants to know why so many communities are willing to allow the waste product from that process to be delivered into their landfills, or spread on their roads, or processed in water filtration plants.

"We don't know what we have," Tkaczyk said. "We don't have the regulations in place to really understand it and process it adequately to protect our communities."

That's why senate democrats were holding a forum on Tuesday, to hear from environmental experts, and to raise awareness so that the public better understands the risks that go along with fracking or receiving fracking waste.

"The reality is that New York State doesn't enforce the law," saidWalter Hang, president of Toxics Targeting. "I know you're shocked to hear this but the consequences are we have polluted landfills."

Polluted landfills and water supplies, and innumerable other health risks to humans, animals, and agriculture described in the testimony from about a dozen environmental experts.

"Is there anything equally scarier going on from any other activity?" asked Sen. Liz Krueger (D - Manhattan), "To impact our water or is this the scariest?"

For the record, none of the experts could come up with a scarier environmental practice or scenario.

Tkaczyk believes legislation to prohibit fracking and prevent delivery of fracking waste into New York landfills or water treatment facilities will go a long way toward protecting the public.

Others wonder if that's really necessary.

"We have over 10,000 active gas wells in New York right now all of which have been fracked without a single incident of groundwater contamination," said Karen Moreau, executive director of the New York State Petroleum Council.

The state Petroleum Council was not invited to Tuesday's forum, which is why Moreau believes the forum was more about politics then science.

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