Fracking foes to back Ulster ban on fluid use for road deicing
KINGSTON, N.Y. — Opponents of hydraulic fracturing plan to voice support today for proposed Ulster County legislation that would prohibit the use of liquid from hydofracking as a deicing agent on county roads.
Lawmakers are scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. in the sixth floor chambers at the Ulster County Office Building on Fair Street.
“This fracking waste, so-called ‘brine,’ contains chemicals known to cause disease and death,” said Rosalyn Cherry, an organizer with Frack Free Catskills. “A brine analysis test done by TestAmerica ... reveals arsenic, cadmium, benzene, toluene, phenol, naphthalene. Although referred to as ‘treated,’ the treatment consists of evaporation, which does not render it safe. DEC records also reveal that this fluid that returns to the surface of the well contains radioactive radium 226.”
County Legislator Kenneth Wishnick, D-New Paltz, contends the fluid is used on roads in central New York, which the state Department of Environmental Conservation denies.
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 Department of Environmental Conservation Director of Public Information Emily DeSantis in an email response to the proposed legislation contends the fluid is not used and opponents have misrepresented the type of fluids used.
“The recommendations in the draft SGEIS specifically prohibit the use of Marcellus Shale production brine from high-volume hydraulically fractured wells for road spreading until sufficient data is available to evaluate potential impacts,” she said.
DeSantis said there are Beneficial Use Determinations for road spreading of production brine from primarily non-shale vertical oil and gas wells as well as from mined salt caverns,
“Each application for a BUD requires identification of the source of production fluid, analysis of its chemical composition, spreading methodology and equipment, and the designated road or area for spreading,” she said. “Under a BUD, designated spreading locations must avoid environmental impacts to sensitive locations such as state forest areas, wetlands and surface water bodies.” Continued...
According to the state, 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.
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