OSSINING, N.Y. – While Ossining residents won’t have to worry about their water lighting on fire, Assembly member Sandy Galef (D-Ossining) is joining a push to ban byproducts from hydraulic fracturing from being used in New York.
Galef and Assemblyman Tom Abinanti (D-Greenburgh) announced Wednesday in front of Ossining’s wastewater treatment plant that they would introduce legislation after the new year to prohibit the use of hydraulic fracturing byproducts that could harm the environment. Galef said companies dispose of the byproduct, known as brine, by selling it as a de-icer or dust reducer for use on state roads like Route 9 or the Taconic State Parkway.
Galef said she educated herself on hydraulic fracturing and supported banning it in New York.
“We don’t have the drills going on or the water pads or the ponds keeping this polluted water. We could have it here right on these roads,” she said Wednesday, adding that the waste could end up in the Hudson River or local wastewater treatment facilities. “Do you know how long we’ve been working on trying to make the Hudson River pure and clean? It has finally gotten itself cleaned up, and we certainly don’t want to start a process where it pollutes up again.”
This week, the Westchester County Board of Legislators unanimously passed legislation, introduced by Legislator Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining), that would ban the use of waste from hydraulic fracturing on county roads. Borgia said Wednesday that she was pleased Galef was “taking the next step.”
“We know from information that’s provided to us by places that have had hydraulic fracking that there is potential contamination of our water supply,” Borgia said, noting that some companies will sell or give away brine to municipalities, which then would become liable. “We felt this was a very smart thing to do in order to cut off problems of the past before they happen. We wanted to say, ‘No thank you,’ right up front to protect the health, the safety and the welfare of Westchester residents.”
Abinanti later praised Galef in helping introduce the legislation to ban use of the byproducts on state roads.
“We’re talking about an industrial process that has the potential to affect every community in New York state,” he said. “We are concerned for ourselves, for our neighbors and other parts of the state. This industrial waste is a significant hazard, a poisonous material, and it’s dangerous to people.”