NY Republican Senator Introduces Fracking Wastewater Bill

On the issue of hydraulic fracturing and shale gas drilling, the New York Republican party keeps shooting itself in the head. The latest example is a ridiculous bill just introduced into the state legislature by Long Island Republican Senator Jack Martins, 7th Senate District:

Senator Jack M. Martins has introduced a bill that prohibits the storing and processing of hydraulic-fracturing waste water in areas of New York State where drinking water is derived primarily from a sole source aquifer, including Nassau and Suffolk counties.

The process of hydraulic-fracturing involves injecting water along with chemicals into shale rock formation at high pressure to release natural gas. Senator Martins’ bill (S.6583) will ban the treatment, storage or processing of that drilling fluid as well as any waste resulting from the exploration, development, extraction or production of crude oil or natural gas, in areas that rely primarily on a single water source.

The bill is particularly important for Long Island communities. Surrounded by saltwater, Long Island derives its drinking water from groundwater.

In fact, Nassau and Suffolk counties depend on a sole source aquifer for drinking water and consume an estimated 375 million gallons of water per day just from this source. This bill’s goal is to safeguard this extremely sensitive sole source aquifer that Long Island relies on.

“I’m clearly not alone in my concern about the possibility of hydraulic fracturing chemicals seeping into our drinking water. Frankly speaking, we can’t afford a mishap with hazardous waste, certainly not in areas that rely on a sole source for water. It makes no sense to take a chance that could have tragic results for our environment. This bill makes sure that kind of mistake never happens.”*

Why ridiculous? Almost all fracking wastewater is now recycled, and for wastewater not recycled, do you think drillers will haul it all the way from upstate NY to Long Island to get rid of it? Really?? The real hazard is that ill-thought-out legislation like this will possibly prevent drilling in some upstate communities, and it perpetuates the false notion that fracking wastewater is in the same league with things like nuclear waste.

*Manhasset Press (Mar 9, 2012) – Bill Introduced to Protect Drinking Water from Hydro-Fracking Waste