Saturday, December 14, 2013

Erie County Bans Fracking and Its Waste

The Buffalo News - 12.14.2013 -
We did it! After a year of tireless organizing, we've passed a fracking ban on Erie County-owned lands — and we've banned toxic fracking wastewater from entering our county.  

This was a landslide victory, with 9 out of the 11 legislators voting in support of the ban.

Without all of your hard work, this never could have happened. Here's what you and other Erie County residents have done in the past year to protect your water:
  • Collected 3,845 petition signatures
  • Spoke at a County Energy & Environment Committee meeting
  • Visited with several of our elected officials
  • Educated your friends and neighbors about fracking
  • Flooded the legislature with phone calls for an entire week this summer
  • Testified for a ban on fracking at last week's public hearing
  • Packed the room with anti-fracking signs at Thursday's vote
I'd also like to thank our bill sponsor, County Legislature Chair Betty Jean Grant, who stood on the side of the people and protected our air, land and water by introducing this bill. Will you join us in sending a thank you card to Legislator Grant and the other eight legislators who voted to pass this historic bill?

Our fight to protect New Yorkers from fracking is not yet over, but our victory in Erie County moves us one step closer.

Thank you for making this happen!   

Rita Yelda
Western NY Organizer,
Food & Water Watch,

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Hydrofracking News Briefs

Rejected drilling waste taken to Idaho

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has confirmed that containers holding radioactive drill cuttings that were rejected in April by the Max Environmental Technologies disposal site in South Huntingdon Township have been transported to Idaho for disposal.

“Rice Energy has informed us that they have removed the roll-off boxes containing the TENORM material,” said John Poister, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. “They have provided us documentation that the material was sent to a U.S. Ecology site in Idaho for proper disposal.” TENORM is an acronym for technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material. It occurs when the levels of radioactivity that are present naturally are increased by human activities.

The Rice Energy truck carrying the drill cuttings from a Center Township well site set off the radiation warning system on April 19 while entering Max Environmental. The truck was immediately quarantined and tested to determine what type of radiation it contained, according to Poister. It was determined that the drill cuttings contained Radium 226 at a level of 96 microrem (mrem). Microrem is the measure of the biological effect of absorbed radiation.

Read more at SW Pennsylvania Observer-Reporter

Environmental group warns of fracking waste on NY roads

ALBANY—Despite a moratorium on fracking in New York State, more than a dozen municipalities have received state approval to spread a fracking byproduct on their roads.

The fluid, called production brine, can now be spread on roads in Wyoming, Erie, Cattaraugus, and Seneca counties, according to state documents obtained by Riverkeeper, a group that advocates for cleanup of the Hudson River.

An additional ten municipalities in Allegany and Steuben counties have received state permission to spread waste brine from natural gas storage.

Nine counties have banned the use of fracking brine on their roads because it contains pollutants, according to Riverkeeper scientist Bill Wegner. They include five along the Hudson River in the last year: Albany, Orange, Putnam, Westchester and Rockland.

Article and photo from Capital NY.

Texas drinking water makes pipes and plumbing radioactive

HOUSTON—Radiation has contaminated the underground pipes, water tanks, and plumbing that provide drinking water for much of Central Texas and the famed Texas Hill Country, according to concerned city officials in the region who have tested the pipes with Geiger counters. 

According to local officials, the contamination comes from years of exposure to drinking water that already tests over federal legal limits for radioactive radium. Of even more concern, they say, is that any water quality testing is done before the water runs through the contaminated pipes that could be adding even more radiation.

“It’s a serious concern,” City of Brady Manager James Minor said. “These pipes have so much radioactivity in them, metal recycling places refer to them as they’re ‘hot.’”

Read more at  KHOU TV

Protect Water & Health - Call Erie County Legislators

Risky procedures associated with shale gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and the disposal of its waste threaten drinking water purity and our health.

On December 12, 2013, the Erie County Legislature will vote on a proposed law to prohibit dangerous fracking, the disposal of its toxic and radioactive waste at county facilities and the spreading of fracking wastewater on roads.

Some legislators are still undecided about how they will vote. The proposed law might not be passed without additional pressure from concerned county residents.

Please call your legislator: Encourage them to co-sponsor the County ban on fracking and its waste (To find out the name of the legislator in your district and their office phone number, Click Here.)

Sample call script: “Hello my name is (full name) and I live in (town/city). I am calling to urge Legislator (last name) to co-sponsor the legislation to ban dangerous fracking and the toxic, radioactive waste it creates from entering Erie County.” 

If no one answers, you can leave a recorded message for your legislator.

Attend the vote if possible: Show your legislator that you care about clean drinking water and public health. The vote will occur on Thursday, December 12 at 2:00 pm in the County Legislature Chambers on the Fourth Floor of Old County Hall at 92 Franklin St., Buffalo (arrive early to allow time to pass through security). [MAP]

For additional information, visit WNY Drilling Defense.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Public Supports County Ban of Fracking and Drilling Waste

By David Kowalski  .

The Erie County Legislature is examining a proposed law to ban fracking on county-owned land, and to prohibit treating, disposal and road spreading of fracking and drilling wastes, which contain toxic and radioactive materials

About 75 people packed the Erie County Legislature Chambers for the final public hearing on the
                                             Photos / WNY Drilling Defense
proposed legislation.

Many of those in attendance signed up to speak and all who spoke were opposed to fracking and its waste. 

Erie County legislators said that throughout all of the meetings they've had about banning fracking on county land, no one has ever showed up to speak in favor of the fracking industry.

A box of petitions with 3,845 signatures of Erie County residents who support the proposed legislation was presented by Rita Yelda, organizer for New Yorkers Against Fracking and WNY Drilling Defense.

The Erie County Legislature will vote on the proposal on December 12th. Legislators Betty Jean Grant and Timothy Hogues cosponsored the legislation and said that they have five of the six votes needed for
County Legislators Betty Jean Grant and Timothy Hogues
it to pass.

"Nearly 15 counties across New York have stepped up to protect their residents against the dangers posed by fracking and fracking waste," Grant said. "Now it's Erie County's turn to take a stand and say that we will not allow fracking on our county land and we will now allow drilling waste to be stored or disposed of on county land."

Grant, however, noted that a ban would alleviate concerns over health issues related to fracking.
"This protects us from being exposed to the hundreds of dangerous chemicals used in the fracking process and from being exposed to the radioactive fracking waste," she said.

Below is a brief video (provided by WGRZ) that gives an overview of the proceedings:

If you are unable to view the video on your device, Click Here to view it at the WGRZ website.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Public Hearing: County Ban on Fracking & Its Waste

FINAL Public Hearing: Tuesday, December 3rd, 4:00 pm in County Legislature Chambers on the Fourth Floor of Old County Hall at 92 Franklin St., Buffalo.
Please attend to protect Erie County air, land, and water from fracking and its toxic waste.

LINK to Event Information is Here.