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New Concerns About Fracking & Clean Water

As New York State moves closer to making a decision whether or not to allow the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports there are new concerns about the gas extraction process and its impact on clean water

A new report released this week by the Natural Resources Defense Council claims that contaminated fracking wastewater is threatening people's health and the environment, and none of the methods currently used to treat or dispose of that wastewater are safe enough.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is currently studying the effect of fracking on drinking water, but a draft of the EPA's report isn't expected to be released until the end of 2012.

Kate Sinding is a Senior Attorney at the NRDC: she

 says fracking waste is very contaminated material, without many disposal options - as people in Pennsylvania are discovering.  Should New York State allow hydrofracking, it too will have to address the problems surrounding waste disposal.

The NRDC in  comments on New York's revised draft environmental review argues that the state could not responsibly – move forward with its fracking proposal without a solid comprehensive wastewater management plan.

Meanwhile, New Paltz is  formally calling for a nationwide ban on fracking: The town board met in special session Wednesday night to pass a Mother’s Day proclamation.

Proposed legislation before the state Senate and Assembly would make waste from all fracking wells subject to “cradle-to-grave” tracking, handling and disposal measures required for other hazardous wastes.

This year alone, 24 states have considered at least 127 bills dealing specifically with hydraulic fracturing, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.