- Despite Ban, 600,000 Tons of Fracking Waste Entered NYS

For Immediate Release: June 9, 2017

Despite Ban, 600,000 Tons of Fracking Waste Entered NYS

Lawmakers Introduce Ban as DEC Prepares to Release Disposal Regulations

Albany – More than two years after Governor Andrew Cuomo banned high-volume hydraulic fracturing (fracking), new data reveals that landfills in New York have received more than 600,000 tons of fracking waste from Pennsylvania gas drillers. Though they were released for public comment more than a year ago, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has not finalized proposed changes to the state’s solid waste regulations, which would increase oversight – but not place an outright ban – on the disposal of fracking waste in landfills.

Release of the DEC’s final regulations are expected any day.

Today, state Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblyman David Buchwald announced legislation S98A/A302A to ban all oil and gas waste from disposal at New York’s solid waste management facilities, wastewater treatment plants, and for use as a de-icing agent on roads.

An analysis by Environmental Advocates of New York of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s oil and gas waste data system found that between 2011 and March 2017, 608,646 tons of fracking waste has been dumped into New York State landfills – a 32% increase from the 460,000 tons first outlined in the organization’s 2015 report, License to Dump. Of that waste, over half has been disposed of in Chemung County Landfill, in Lowman, NY.

State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) said, “Even though New York banned high volume hydraulic fracturing nearly three years ago, our state continues to accept dangerous fracking waste from other states to dispose of in our landfills and to use as a chemical de-icing agent on our roads, posing significant environmental hazards. That’s why I’ve introduced S.98A, which would implement a comprehensive fracking waste ban in New York. I urge the DEC to adopt regulations that would ban the acceptance of fracking waste in New York, and thank Assemblymember Buchwald for carrying the bill in the Assembly, and Environmental Advocates of New York for their continued advocacy on this issue.”

Assemblyman David Buchwald (D-Westchester) said, “As the DEC works to complete the update of its landfill regulations, we must pass legislation to close a loop hole that has allowed hundreds of thousands of tons of fracking waste to be buried in New York. Over time, leaks from landfills could lead to chemicals found in fracking waste entering our water and food supply.”

Liz Moran, water & natural resources associate at Environmental Advocates of New York said, “DOH Commissioner Dr. Zucker said fracking is a danger to public health. And so is fracking waste. Governor Cuomo boldly banned fracking, but when it comes to the drilling waste, the state has been slow to respond and too often relied on bureaucratic labels and processes to justify inaction. Banning fracking waste from our landfills, wastewater treatment plants, and roadways, is a common-sense approach to protecting New York’s water. Environmental Advocates thanks and applauds Senator Hoylman, Assemblyman Buchwald, and many other legislators who have worked tirelessly to keep fracking waste out of New York State.”

Nadia Steinzor, Eastern Program Coordinator with Earthworks said, “Stopping the pollution caused by oil and gas waste makes sense in a state that said no to fracking. This bill is a way for New York to once again be a leader in preventing harm to water, land, and health.”

The addendum to License to Dump is available online.