Fracking Bills in NY Legislature See Movement

Several bills that deal with hydraulic fracturing are making their way through the legislature in Albany, but with only eight days left in the legislative session for 2012, it’s not at all assured any of them will pass. The bills range from stricter control of fracking wastewater to an outright ban on fracking in the state—and everything in between.

Various bills have already passed the Assembly, including one that would require all waste from hydrofracking and gas drilling to be tested. After the testing, the waste could be classified as hazardous, which would subject it to greater tracking, disposal and disclosure requirements.

The Senate’s environmental conservation committee, meanwhile, advanced five proposals on Tuesday that would impose greater restrictions on hydrofracking waste, including a prohibition on public wastewater treatment plants from accepting the briny wastewater from gas wells.

Other bills in the Senate and Assembly would place a firm moratorium on hydrofracking until June 2013, and another would ban it completely.*

Assemblyman Robert Sweeney, a Suffolk County Democrat who chairs the chamber’s environmental conservation committee said the five Senate bills will need to be modified before the Assembly will pass them.

"Each of them have some problems, but we’re certainly hopeful that we can have a discussion with (the Senate) and pass them in an amended form," he said.*

Of course, most if not all of the concerns raised in the bills would be addressed in the SGEIS—the revised drilling regulations currently under consideration by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. But that’s not good enough for politicians who believe they can use this issue to boost their re-election campaigns. Politicians like RINO Sen. Greg Ball:

Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, Putnam County, said he believes a bill to establish a moratorium until next June is picking up support in his conference. Ball, a hydrofracking critic, sponsors the legislation.

"As a state, this moratorium will simply allow us to put the proper regulations in place, and do so without repeating the past mistakes of other states," he said in a statement.*

Meanwhile, yet another year slips by with landowners denied the use of their own property.

*Binghamton (NY) Press & Sun-Bulletin (Jun 6, 2012) – Fracking bills face uphill climb in Albany