Local
9:52 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Support builds for county ban on fracking

Supporters of a near-ban on fracking in Erie County turned out Tuesday night to vocally oppose the natural gas drilling technique.

Protesters turned out at a public hearing on fracking Tuesday night.
Protesters turned out at a public hearing on fracking Tuesday night.
Credit Mike Desmond/wbfo news

The County Legislature is looking at a local law to ban fracking on county-owned land, prohibit any county-owned facility from treating fracking waste, and bar road spreading of drilling wastes.

It's likely to come up at the full Legislature meeting December 12 and has bipartisan backing. The bill is also being strongly pushed by Legislature Chair Betty Jean Grant.

Food and Water Watch organizer Rita Yelda says watery waste from the drilling is a serious problem.

Anti-frack protestors
Anti-frack protestors
Credit WBFO News photo by Mike Desmond

"There currently is no safe way to dispose of fracking waste water and no way to clean the toxins out without introducing them back into the environment," Yelda said.

"According to the Endocrine Disruption Exchange, more than 600 chemicals are used in the fracking process. Twenty-five percent of them are cancer-causing carcinogens [and] 47 percent of the products have the potential to affect the endocrine system and reproduction."

Anti-frack protestors in Legislature chambers.
Anti-frack protestors in Legislature chambers.
Credit WBFO News photo by Mike Desmond

Governor Cuomo has a study of fracking underway, but it's years past the expected completion date.

There is a lot of support for producing natural gas using underground hydraulic fracturing of rock but no one showed up at the county hearing to support the technique.

If Erie County passes the bill, it would become one of dozens of local and county governments in New York, including Buffalo, that bar fracking.