New York Wants To Effectively Ban Fracking A Third Time

(REUTERS/Larry Downing)

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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New York state legislators want to ban the disposal of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, even though they’ve already banned fracking in the state.

“We could significantly improve the status of our water remaining clean if DEC [Department of Environmental Conservation] applies the stricter definitions in the regulations they are finalizing, literally as we speak,” Liz Krueger, a Democratic state senator, told Public News Service Thursday.

Wastewater disposal is a process used to get rid of water used in fracking. The proposed changes would cause New York to ban injecting wastewater underground, but new methods have been developed to distill and purify the water so that it can be reused or discharged under permit.

“It’s ironic that while New York continues to ramp up its use of natural gas to reach its climate goals, its politicians are simultaneously trying to ban every process required to develop that resource,” Dr. Katie Brown,  a spokeswoman for the energy industry group Energy In Depth, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “In other words, they’re making a political statement against the process that’s improving their air quality and keeping them warm in the winter.”

New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo officially banned fracking last June, claiming it used too much water and could potentially contaminate the state’s drinking source. Fracking with gelled propane requires far less water and would reduce the theoretical risk of contamination. A natural gas company applied to the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation for a permit to frack using gelled propane last year, which has caused environmentalists to worry the process may return to the state, prompting calls for a second ban.

Numerous studies from regulatory bodiesacademics, the U.S. Geological Survey and even the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that fracking does not contaminate drinking water and could not have any large scale impact on America’s groundwater.

A three-year study by the University of Cincinnati published in February found that fracking had no impact on water quality in five eastern Ohio counties. The study was financially supported by environmentalists.

“Our funders, the groups that had given us funding in the past, were a little disappointed in our results,” Amy Townsend-Small, the study’s lead researcher, told Newsweek in April. “We haven’t seen anything to show that wells have been contaminated by fracking.”

EPA science advisers agree with the the study, stating that fracking has no “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water in the United States.” The EPA’s assessment concurs with numerous scientific studies from regulatory bodiesacademics, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the National Science Foundation

Environmentalists responded to these studies with total denial, saying, “millions of Americans know that fracking contaminates groundwater and for the EPA to report any differently only proves that the greatest contamination from the industry comes from its influence and ownership of our government.”

Despite the preponderance of evidence, the Sierra Club and many other environmental groups still claim “fracking has contaminated the drinking water of hundreds of thousands of Americans.”

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