Fracking Waste is Too Toxic For Niagara Falls

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We’re not selling out future generations of our children for corporate greed.

This was a statement made by a Niagara Falls Council Chairman who at one time attended school in the Love Canal contaminated neighborhood.  It is refreshing to hear someone who has learned from our society’s past mistakes and takes steps to avoid the same problems in the future.

Niagara Falls has recently gone on record against treating wastewater from hydraulic fracturing, with elected officials saying they don’t want the city that endured the Love Canal toxic waste crisis to be a test case for the technology used in gas drilling operations.

The City Council also approved an ordinance Monday that prohibits natural gas extraction in Niagara Falls, as well as the “storage, transfer, treatment or disposal of natural gas exploration and production wastes.”

This does not mean that the Niagara Falls Water Board, who owns the treatment facility can’t agree to take the fracking waste, despite the city council decisions.  However, they would have to air lift the wastes in which would be costly, because the City will not allow it to be transferred or stored.

After celebrating this proactive and protective decision by the city council I realized that years ago a similar policy was passed in the city of New Bedford, MA.  In that situation the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) wanted to place a portable incinerator near the shoreline and burn the PCB wastes that were going to be dredged from the harbor.

When the city said no and passed a similar policy, the USEPA said we can air lift the incinerator on to the site.  The city countered by saying they would refused to give them permits for water and electricity. The USEPA came back with, we’ll air lift the incinerator, a generator and water tanks.  This became a big scandal and EPA backed down.

The lesson here is — believe the unbelievable when it comes to greed at any costs.  The city of Niagara Falls needs to watch carefully to make sure that their proactive intentions of protecting public health and the environment are in fact accomplished.

As a former resident I have to say that I am proud of the recent decision and foresight the city has demonstrated. If only Ohio could see the problem in the same light. They’ve had earthquakes and other related problems with waste disposal already. When will they ever learn?

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