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Legislators Move to Prevent Hydrofracking Waste in Suffolk County

Hahn and Horsley create bill that would prevent flowback from being treated at a West Babylon sewage treatment plant.

After a state report pinpointed a West Babylon sewage treatment facility as a potential site for the treatment of waste from hydraulic fracturing, two county legislators have created a measure that would prevent the treatment of that waste in Suffolk County.

Suffolk County Legis. Kara Hahn, D-Setauket, and Deputy Presiding Officer Wayne Horsley, D-Lindenhurst, filed a bill that would prevent hydraulic fracturing waste from being treated at the Bergen Point Sewage Treatment Plant in West Babylon or any other similar facility in Suffolk.

Hydrofracking, as it's called, is a process by which large amounts of water and chemicals are used to extract natural gas from the earth. According to the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, hydrofracking "is under-regulated and poses serious threats to New York State’s water, air, land, and people."

Hahn said in a statement that she is dumbfounded that Long Island – which she called an "environmentally sensitive area" – is being considered as a site for treatment of dangerous hydrofracking waste. Four facilities in Nassau County were also pinpointed by the state as potential flowback treatment sites.

Hahn said hydrofracking in places like West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and upstate New York is threatening the drinking water in those places, with the possibility of Long Island being a receiving point for its toxin-laden byproducts. Now is "a critical time to confront this possibility," Hahn said.

"Our facilities are not equipped to deal with the kind of chemical concoction used at these sites and would ultimately result in this waste being untreated and discharged directly into the Atlantic Ocean," she said.

Hahn and Horsley will introduce the measure at the legislature's full meeting on March 13, and it could be up for a vote as early as March 27.

BillLongisland February 29, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Here's how the EPA may be "fudging facts" on your favorite subject...part 1 of 2 The EPA's Fracking Scare REVIEW & OUTLOOK DECEMBER 20, 2011 Breaking down the facts in that Wyoming drinking water study. The shale gas boom has been a rare bright spot in the U.S. economy, so much of the country let out a shudder two weeks ago when the Environmental Protection Agency issued a "draft" report that the drilling process of hydraulic fracturing may have contaminated ground water in Pavillion, Wyoming. The good news is that the study is neither definitive nor applicable to the rest of the country. "When considered together with other lines of evidence, the data indicates likely impact to ground water that can be explained by hydraulic fracking," said the EPA report, referring to the drilling process that blasts water and chemicals into shale rock to release oil and natural gas. The news caused elation among environmentalists and many in the media who want to shut down fracking. More than one-third of all natural gas drilling now uses fracking, and that percentage is rising. If the EPA Wyoming study holds up under scrutiny, an industry that employs tens of thousands could be in peril. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204026804577098112387490158.html
BillLongisland February 29, 2012 at 09:05 PM
part 2 of 3... The EPA's Fracking Scare REVIEW & OUTLOOK DECEMBER 20, 2011 But does it stand up? This is the first major study to have detected linkage between fracking and ground-water pollution, and the EPA draft hasn't been peer reviewed by independent scientific analysts. Critics are already picking apart the study, which Wyoming Governor Matt Mead called "scientifically questionable." The EPA says it launched the study in response to complaints "regarding objectionable taste and odor problems in well water." What it doesn't say is that the U.S. Geological Survey has detected organic chemicals in the well water in Pavillion (population 175) for at least 50 years—long before fracking was employed. There are other problems with the study that either the EPA failed to disclose or the press has given little attention to: • The EPA study concedes that "detections in drinking water wells are generally below [i.e., in compliance with] established health and safety standards." The dangerous compound EPA says it found in the drinking wells was 2-butoxyethyl phosphate. The Petroleum Association of Wyoming says that 2-BE isn't an oil and gas chemical but is a common fire retardant used in association with plastics and plastic components used in drinking wells. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204026804577098112387490158.html
BillLongisland February 29, 2012 at 09:06 PM
part 3 • The pollution detected by the EPA and alleged to be linked to fracking was found in deep-water "monitoring wells"—not the shallower drinking wells. It's far from certain that pollution in these deeper wells caused the pollution in drinking wells. The deep-water wells that EPA drilled are located near a natural gas reservoir. Encana Corp., which owns more than 100 wells around Pavillion, says it didn't "put the natural gas at the bottom of the EPA's deep monitoring wells. Nature did." • To the extent that drilling chemicals have been detected in monitoring wells, the EPA admits this may result from "legacy pits," which are old wells that were drilled many years before fracking was employed. The EPA also concedes that the inferior design of Pavillion's old wells allows seepage into the water supply. Safer well construction of the kind normally practiced today might have prevented any contaminants from leaking into the water supply. • The fracking in Pavillion takes place in unusually shallow wells of fewer than 1,000 to 1,500 feet deep. Most fracking today occurs 10,000 feet deep or more, far below drinking water wells, which are normally less than 500 feet. Even the EPA report acknowledges that Pavillion's drilling conditions are far different from other areas of the country, such as the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania. This calls into question the relevance of the Wyoming finding to newer and more sophisticated fracking operations in more than 20 states.
BillLongisland February 29, 2012 at 09:07 PM
The Wall Street journal piece should answer your questions.
BillLongisland March 01, 2012 at 06:22 AM
I feel so special...this is about me.

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