Blogs > Docket > NYC Mayor signs milestone fracking waste bill

NYC Mayor signs milestone fracking waste bill

Image-1

Left to right: Sean Dixon, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Councilmember Stephen Levin, Eric Landau (NYCDEP), Ling Tsou (United for Action), Roland Lewis (Waterfront Alliance)
View more images on our Flickr site

Left to right: Sean Dixon, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Councilmember Stephen Levin, Eric Landau (NYCDEP), Ling Tsou (United for Action), Roland Lewis (Waterfront Alliance)

Left to right: Sean Dixon, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Councilmember Stephen Levin, Eric Landau (NYCDEP), Ling Tsou (United for Action), Roland Lewis (Waterfront Alliance)

New legislation would prohibit oil and gas industry waste from being used by, or disposed in NY

Yesterday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed Intro 446-A into law at a City Hall ceremony, where he was joined by members of the city environmental community as well as Council Member Stephen Levin who was the lead advocate for this proposal.

This makes the city the nation’s first municipality to comprehensively ban the use or discharge of oil or natural gas waste products, including those created in the process of hydrofracking. It protects the city’s communities and safeguards the water by banning these wastes from the city’s wastewater treatment plants, prohibiting any city agencies from entering into contracts where these wastes will be used, and making it illegal for these wastes to be spread, poured, dumped, or released onto any streets, waterways, landfills or property of any kind anywhere in the city.

While New York State banned high-volume hydraulic fracturing in mid-2015, the byproducts of fracking (and other oil and natural gas production activities) are under-regulated on the state level. Fracking wastewater, for example, has been disposed of in landfills and has even been used to de-ice roadways despite this waste containing radioactive elements such as radium and carcinogens such as benzene.

With stiff penalties of $2,500 to $25,000 per violation, and with the support of the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, this law sends a clear signal that no fossil fuel wastes are acceptable in New York City – to de-ice roads or to dump into landfills.

With this bill’s signing, New York City has again shown that the health of its people, environment, and waterways come first, ensuring their protection for future generations. The municipal ban on the discharge or use of waste products resulting from fossil fuel extraction sets the standard for other governments to follow, and Riverkeeper looks forward to the day that New York State enacts a similarly comprehensive ban.

Tell Congress: NY Needs a Robust, Fully Funded EPA
Become a Member