A group of New York State lawmakers is teaming up with environmental groups to ask Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration to ban the use of wastewater from hydrofracking and other oil and gas extraction from being spread on public roadways.
Karen DeWitt reports for WBFO:
The state Department of Environmental Conservation just closed a public comment period to revise regulations covering solid waste management facilities. Environmental groups and several state lawmakers said those new rules also should address whether wastewater from the production of natural gas and from oil drilling can be used in the state to de-ice roads in the winter and control dust in the summer.
They say the waste can still be dumped in landfills or in municipal wastewater treatment plants.
Mike Dulong, from the group Hudson Riverkeeper, said there should be a complete ban. He also said a loophole that does not characterize the wastewater as a hazardous substance should be closed.
“We don’t want to be the dumping ground for the oil and gas industry,” Dulong said.
According to a report by Environmental Advocates of New York, over a half-million tons of solid fracking waste and 23,000 barrels of liquid waste were dumped in New York landfills between 2010 and 2015. The fracking waste, or “brine,” also was found to be used in some places to de-ice roads.
The environmental groups say fracking waste has been found to contain “highly toxic and carcinogenic chemicals” such as benzene, formaldehyde and ethylene glycol. They say it also is radioactive, containing radium-226 and radium-228, which are linked to several types of cancer.
But at a joint legislative hearing on water contamination held in Albany on September 7, Cuomo’s environmental commissioner, Basil Seggos denied that the state allows the use of any fracking wastewater from gas drilling for roads or any other purpose in New York. Seggos, testifying under oath, was answering a question from Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh.
“No fracking waste is being dumped in New York state,” said Seggos. “Those who perpetrated that are just flat wrong.”