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Activists, lawmakers urge to pass Local Law C

Anti-fracking protesters say process byproduct is toxic

Lawmakers and local and statewide activists stood outside of the Albany County Courthouse last Tuesday voicing their concerns about keeping hydrofracking waste off the streets of Albany County.

Lawmakers and local and statewide activists stood outside of the Albany County Courthouse last Tuesday voicing their concerns about keeping hydrofracking waste off the streets of Albany County. Photo by Zan Strumfeld.

— The rally and public hearing also fell on the fifth anniversary of the de facto moratorium on whether to allow hydrofracking in New York. Roger Downs, conservation director for the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, said the state should be applauded for its approach on the issue, but the problem still exists, even with the moratorium.

“I think what shocks New Yorkers is that every day, hundreds and hundreds of tons of fracking waste come over the border from Pennsylvania into New York landfills,” Downs said.

Downs said at least 300,000 tons have reached six landfills across the New York Southern tier, with thousands of barrels spread onto New York roadways. He said if the county is not careful, the impact zone for fracking could “creep up into Albany.”

Upon proposing this legislation, Clenahan said he is most concerned about the exposure of toxic materials to the citizens of Albany County.

“We’re really not exactly sure what’s in fracking material because the companies won’t reveal it,” Clenahan said, adding the carcinogens they do know mixed with the natural elements of the earth combine as harmful toxins. “Our citizens would be directly exposed to it.”

Chyrs Batterano said she moved to Albany about 14 years ago and is nervous about the effect hydrofracking would cause on the place she now calls home.

“I couldn’t imagine this land and the animals and the people here perish and suffer as I imagine they will. I’m amazed people will put their short-sighted need for the money over the lives and health and the people and the ecosystem,” Batterano said. “We’re all connected by the water that we drink, by the air that we breathe, by the blood that goes through our veins. … This is pollution for a short term profit. We can’t stand by it and watch it happen.”

Clenahan said Local Law C, which has been proposed since April, will hopefully go before the legislature for a vote by the end of the summer.

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