TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in
relation to prohibiting the use of flowback water from oil or natural
gas wells, pools or fields on any highway
PURPOSE: This bill would prohibit waste water from hydrofracking,
which contains a variety of chemical and radioactive contaminants,
from being used on highways for purposes such as melting ice.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: The bill prohibits flowback water from oil and
gas wells, pools, or fields, i.e., the waste water from hydrofracking
operations, from being used on highways. Section one of the bill
amends Environmental Conservation Law ("ECL") section 23-0303,
subdivision 8, to add the prohibition against use of flowback water on
highways, and specifically refers to the Transportation Law definition
of highway, to ensure that all public roads are included. Section two
is the effective date, which is 160 days after enactment.
JUSTIFICATION: In addition to the many concerns about the safety of
the process itself and hydrofracking's effect on groundwater and
watersheds, which are the subject of other legislative proposals,
moratoriums and administrative and/or legislative oversight and
regulation, a separate concern about possible reuse of the wastewater
is addressed by this bill. The production of oil and natural gas,
especially the hydraulic fracturing process to extract natural gas,
generally referred to as hydrofracking, generates wastewater with a
variety of contaminants, including endocrine disruptors and
radioactive materials. At least in part because the wastewater is very
salty, it is used in some communities to de-ice roads in the winter,
as well as for other purposes, like suppressing dust, in other
Toxic, hazardous, and radioactive fracking waste from oil and natural
gas drilling can potentially cause irreversible damage to water, air,
land and food supplies. Although this waste is hazardous and in fact
exceeds the legal criteria for hazardous waste classification, it is
categorized as "industrial" under federal and state laws as a result
Of special exemptions given to the oil and gas industry. These
exemptions eliminate tracking requirements for its handling, storage,
treatment and disposal of the waste. As such the waste can be used for
many purposes such as road deicer or to suppress dust.
Spreading radioactive fracking waste on roads will expose drivers,
passengers, and pedestrians, to dangerous pollutants while
contaminating nearby surface waters, residential areas, school
properties and farmland. Radioactive particles may become airborne as
trucks and passenger vehicles travel along roads. These events provide
opportunity for.human and livestock inhalation and ingestion of highly
radioactive materials and other contaminants.
Unfortunately, these uses also result in runoff that ran contaminate
the ground water. This bill therefore would prohibit the use of
wastewater from hydrofracking on public roads in New York.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect 180 days after becoming a
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