Tkaczyk proposes ban on out-of-state fracking waste

State senator Cecilia Tkaczyk, an outspoken opponent of hydrofracking, is proposing new legislation that would prohibit out-of-state drillers from disposing of fracking waste in New York State.

On Wednesday, Tkaczyk held a press conference about the proposed bill. In a prepared statement, Tkaczyk argues that if New York State is still on the fence about whether to allow hydrofracking, it doesn't make much sense for the state to accept toxic waste from Pennsylvania drill sites. From the statement:

Senator Tkaczyk’s bill would ban “the treatment, discharge, disposal, transportation or storage of high volume hydraulic fracturing waste products in New York State.” While this type of fracking is not currently being conducted in New York, landfills and treatment facilities in the state are accepting tens of thousands of tons of fracking waste from sites in Pennsylvania.

"It simply makes no sense that we would accept hazardous wastes from other states while we are working to determine the environmental impact fracking would have on New York,” Senator Tkaczyk said.

In a report that includes video from Tkaczyk's press conference, the Times Union's Casey Seller reports that Tkaczyk's bill is so new it does not yet have an Assembly sponsor. 

The Daily Mail's Kyle Wind reports that the disposal of the hydrofracking waste produced by Pennsylvania's gas boom has become a pressing problem in several states:

Drilling sites crowd Pennsylvania’s northern border, and Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter Conservation Director Roger Downs said the state is running out of landfill space for their waste. Some bad experiences with liquid waste — which contains unknown chemical mixes used for drilling that are regarded as trade secrets — have led many Pennsylvania landfills to begin refusing it.

“I think the industry has been scrambling to figure out where to send all their liquid waste,” said Downs. “A lot of it has been going to Ohio injection wells, some of it’s been coming to New York. But it’s very difficult to track, because in New York, once it hits the border, we’re not tracking it.”

The Independent Oil and Gas Association takes issue with Tkaczyk's claim that waste is under-regulated. From the Times Union:

James Smith, a spokesman for the Independent Oil & Gas Association, said that “the assumption that the lawful transportation and disposal of waste water is somehow a secret or an unregulated activity is absurd. Presenting this as some sort of crisis is irresponsible.”

Tkaczyk's 46th District includes Greene County and part of Ulster County.