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Push to ban imports of fracking waste intensifies in Albany

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is finalizing its revised rules governing New York State's solid waste facilities.

Some state legislators and environmental advocates see it as a chance for the DEC to make sure oil and gas wastes from hydraulic fracturing in neighboring states like Pennsylvania stay out of New York State's wastewater plants and landfills.

So they're also pressing for statutory laws during the legislative session to ban the practice.

Environmental Advocates of New York published this report in 2015 about the state's importation of waste from out-of-state oil and gas sites and released an addendum Friday detailing what more it think needs to be done. (Environmental Advocates of New York)

"We think this poses significant environmental concerns," state Senate bill sponsor Sen. Brad Hoylman told reporters during a conference call last week.

There's a similar bill in the Assembly.

Waste from fracking sites can include material with high levels of natural radioactivity like radium and carcinogenic chemicals like benzene or formaldehyde that can taint the wastewater plants that process them or potentially contaminate land and water if they're land-filled or spread as brine to de-ice roadways, according to Elizabeth Moran, the water and natural resources associate for Environmental Advocates of New York.

In all, more than 600,000 gallons of fracking waste from other states has been hauled to landfills in upstate New York, the organization said.

"They put our water quality at risk of harming our public health and the environment," Moran said.


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