For Immediate Release: April 15, 2015
Albany County Bans the Dumping of Fracking Waste in Landfills
County Legislators Unanimously Pass Local Law “D”
Albany – In the absence of a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) waste, this week, the Albany County Legislature unanimously passed Local Law “D” for 2014, which bans fracking waste from entering landfills within the county. The bi-partisan passage of this crucial legislation highlights and neutralizes the threat that fracking waste, in all forms, presents to public health and safety. Spearheaded by County Legislator Bryan Clenahan, Local Law “D” expands Albany County’s existing ban on using fracking waste as a road de-icer and the processing of fracking waste in wastewater treatment plants.
Fracking waste has been found to contain hundreds of chemicals, many of them carcinogens like ethylene glycol and benzene. When disposed of in landfills, contaminated and potentially radioactive runoff from fracking waste ends up in leachate pools. Leachate from landfills is then sent to wastewater treatment plants which aren’t capable of treating these types of waste. Environmental Advocates of New York’s report License to Dump tracked data reported by the State of Pennsylvania, which documents how numerous NY landfills have accepted more than 510,000 tons of solid fracking waste and 23,000 barrels of liquid waste since 2010.
“There should be a statewide ban. However, due to state government’s failure to properly regulate other state’s fracking waste, we commend Legislator Clenahan and all local officials who are stepping up to protect public health,” said Elizabeth Moran, water and natural resources associate with Environmental Advocates of New York. “The Albany County fracking waste ban bill passed unanimously because legislators understand that protecting public health is a core value of their public service. The protections for Albany County should now be applied statewide.”
“With the passage of Local Law D, Albany County becomes the third and largest New York county to prohibit disposal of fracking waste in its landfills,” said Misti Duvall, staff attorney with Riverkeeper. “During the past few years, we have seen an increasing number of counties and municipalities taking action to protect the health and environment of their citizens from the improper reuse and disposal of fracking waste. We applaud the Albany County Legislature for expanding its current protections to include landfills.”
Ellen Weininger, director of educational outreach at Grassroots Environmental Education said, “We highly commend the Albany County Legislature for its unanimous passage of Local Law "D" prohibiting the disposal of radioactive waste byproducts from oil and gas extraction, production and storage operations in all solid waste facilities, extending its ban that already prohibits disposal at all wastewater treatment facilities and application on all roads within the county. Albany County joins the growing number of counties across the state that are taking critically important comprehensive measures to prevent toxic exposures and irreversible damage from radioactive fracking waste byproducts to protect water supplies, public health and the economy.”
The legislation now awaits County Executive Dan McCoy’s signature