Pushing Albany County's Fracking Waste Ban

It is the duty of government to protect the public health of its citizens – and the Albany County Legislature has fulfilled this duty by unanimously passing Local Law “D.” This bill, sponsored by Legislator Bryan Clenahan, prohibits the disposal of any oil and gas waste in solid waste facilities within the county. When it is signed into law, Albany County will become the largest county with a law banning landfill disposal of fracking waste. Albany County will be joining the ranks of Clinton and Cayuga counties.

Benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, ethylene glycol, and radium 226 and 228 are but a few of the toxic and carcinogenic constituents that can be found in the various forms of fracking waste. New York is in the process of banning fracking, yet we’ve been accepting the industry’s nasty by-products in our landfills for years with minimal oversight.

Going as far as categorizing the fracking waste coming to New York as “construction debris,” New York’s Department of Conservation (DEC) has completely overlooked the potential hazards that come with accepting fracking waste. DEC doesn’t see this as problem, yet New York is in the process of banning fracking because of the potentially disastrous side-effects.

As we detail in our report, License to Dump, when fracking waste is disposed of in landfills, water quality becomes significantly threatened. The continued acceptance of this waste stream puts New York’s renowned bodies of water at risk for irreversible contamination – and consequently, drinking water supplies in the line of fire.

We are happy to have had the chance to express strong support for the Albany County’s Local Law D and are pleased that a broad array of environmental organizations are strongly supportive of it as well. You can read the support letter here.

In New York local governments have been leaders in protecting their residents against the hazards of fracking. While New York State has yet to take strong action to protect New Yorkers from the hazards of fracking waste, local Governments are once again showing the pathway forward.  

The Albany County fracking waste ban bill was able to pass unanimously because legislators understand that protecting public health is a core value of their public service. The protections for Albany County should be applied statewide. As we move to ban fracking, we must also get rid of the rules that allow frackers in other states to dump their wastes here.