Streams

As Legislative Session Winds Down, Fracking Bills Vie For Attention

Monday, June 13, 2011

The natural gas extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking (for a primer, click here) has become such a hotbutton issue in Albany, legislators have put forward roughly two dozen bills regulating the practice. Here are three to watch as the legislative session draws to a close.

Regulating Water Withdrawal

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[It takes a lot of water - over a million gallons - to frack a new gas well, and make it productive. One bill that's already passed the assembly would require anyone withdrawing more than 100 thousand gallons of water from streams or rivers to get permission first.
Another concern is the toxic wastewater that results after a well is fracked. Under state law, it's not considered hazardous waste. But a bill now under consideration would change that, and make wastewater subject to strict transport and disposal rules.
Lastly, there's bill to impose a one year moratorium on fracking. This one is considered a long shot.] 
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There is little fracking happening in New York now, while regulators complete an environmental review.

It takes a lot of water -- over a million gallons -- to frack a new gas well and make it productive. One bill that has already passed the Assembly would require anyone withdrawing more than 100,000 gallons from streams or rivers to get permission from the state Department of Environmental Conservation first.

Hazardous Waste

Another concern is the toxic wastewater that results after a well is fracked. Under state law, it's not considered hazardous waste. But a bill now under consideration would change that, and make wastewater subject to strict transport and disposal rules.

A Timeout

Lastly, there's bill to impose a one year moratorium on fracking. This one is considered a long shot, and while it would be symbolically important, it might not have much practical effect. The DEC is now writing a lengthy review of fracking, and it's unlikely the agency will issue permits for fracking new Marcellus Shale wells for many months.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments [1]

Regina Avraham from Brooklyn, NY

This is an essential vote, and every voter has a stake in preventing this potential environmental disaster! The gas companies are inundating cable tv with ads proclaiming the absolute safety of drilling. This is a blatant lie. Please Google 'Gasland' - the film that exposes the extreme toxicity and danger to our drinking water, our soil and our lives from hydrolic fracturing.

Jun. 13 2011 01:06 PM

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