Town of New Paltz lends its support to Ulster County fracking fluid ban
NEW PALTZ, N.Y. — Town Board members believe an Ulster County Legislature resolution is a good step toward keeping spent hydraulic fracturing liquids from being used a deicing agent for local roads.
“It’s an issue that’s starting to raise its head in central New York,” county Legislator Kenneth Wishnick, D-New Paltz, said during a Town Board meeting last week. “When fracking activity, and there is some fracking activity now that’s been prior permitted, when that occurs there is millions of gallons of water that are pumped into the ground that then come out.”
Wishnick said the fracking wastewater has salt content that keeps roads from becoming icy and is also used to settle dust during the summer.
“That is currently being done in central New York because it’s very enticing to a local government to say ... you don’t have to buy salt anymore,” he said.
State officials report that hydraulic fracturing involves high pressure pumping of 2.4 to 7.8 million gallons of water containing about 1 percent of additives from a list of over 300 identified chemicals as well as compounds that are not being disclosed based on industry contentions that it would violate a proprietary process.
“Hearing that the town of Woodstock has picked up on this issue we’re attempting to work with it and to prevent any of that (fracking fluid) brine from being sprayed on roads within their community,” Wishnick said. “They passed a local resolution in their town. I modified that ... prepared a resolution that would in the same way ban spraying of that brine waste on county roads and county property.”
Town Supervisor Susan Zimet, who has work actively with groups opposed to hydraulic fracturing, said the proposed resolution would be used as a model to draft a local law.
“We can as a board lend our support to say we’d like to see the county adopt this and we will take this and modify it and see if we can’t pass it locally,” she said.
Zimet on Monday said consideration is also being given to adopting a law banning hydraulic fracturing as a civil rights violation.
“That’s a very bold undertaking,” she said. “It could be precedent-setting in a lot of ways, so what I’m doing right now is ... talking with a lawyer that knows everything there is about hydrofracking to try to get their sense about the law.”
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