The Lure of Fracking in Monroe County

Paul Ciavarri, 12/12/12

Monroe County, home to Kodak and apple farms, and the place where the great Genesee River meets Lake Ontario, is considering the lure of hydro-fracking wastewater.


Specifically, the powerful Republican majority in the 29-member Monroe County legislature has stayed mum since mid-2012 about the County administration's stance on accepting out-of-state fracking wastewater. According to County administration spokesperson Justin Feasal, speaking in July, the county would treat any out-of-state requests from the gas industry about fracking wastewater on a case-by-case basis, "like any other waste water" request.  (See here.)


For those who don't know, fracking wastewater can include everything from salts and dissolved solids in untreatable quantities to dozens of toxic chemicals in harmful concentrations and/or radioactive solids.


Currently, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation's environmental review acknowledges there is likely no municipality in the state equipped to handle fracking wastewater. Significantly, the nearby city of Niagara Falls has banned both fracking and acceptance of its wastewater.


In October, a group of break-away Monroe County legislators (all Democrats) called for a ban (scroll down to locate story) on accepting fracking wastewater. And dozens of Monroe County residents have spoken before the Lej in opposition to the lure of frack wastewater.


Also in October, the Monroe County based coalition, R-CAUSE (Rochesterians Concerned About Unsafe Shale Extraction) presented County Exec Maggie Brooks with a petition of over 4,000 signatures from County residents demanding a ban on the importation and experimental treatment of fracking wastewater.


This week and next, Monroe County residents will still go to the podium to oppose the County's stance. Despite all the dissent so far, the county Powers give no indication of changing their minds.