In a move that was applauded by local residents and environmental activists, the Putnam County Legislature voted unanimously last week to ban the sale, application and disposal hydrofracking waste products.
The new law also bars the processing of fracking waste at Putnam’s wastewater treatment plants and applying fracking brine on county roads and properties for de-icing and dust control.
The effort to ban the sale, use and disposal of fracking waste was spearheaded by residents and several local environmental organizations that are concerned about the use of toxic chemicals derived from the fracking process and contend that the materials can potentially cause cancer. The gas drilling used in fracking involve toxic chemicals and large water quantities to obtain natural gas.
Residents and representatives of environmental groups praised the legislature during a press conference held following the meeting.
“This is critically important legislation that will go a long way to protecting the public health and the water supplies in Putnam County,” said Ellen Weininger of Grassroots Environmental Education. “We hope that the municipalities of Putnam County will take this opportunity to provide protections for their communities and enact local versions of this legislation without any delay.”
During the press conference, Richard Othmer, chairman of the legislature, said passage of the measure “was a common sense thing we had to do” and hoped the new county law would be emulated elsewhere. He said 16 counties in the state currently use fracking waste.
“I will make sure the letters (from residents) get sent out to the towns and the villages and New York State,” he said.
Late last year the Westchester County Board of Legislators also passed a law that prohibits the use of fracking brine on county roads. Assemblywoman Sandy Galef has also planned to introduce legislation in Albany that places similar restrictions on state roads as well as barring the waste from entering wastewater treatment plants.
Filed Under: The Putnam Examiner