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Will Grisanti Allow Senate Vote on Fracking?

Rita Yelda of Food and Water Watch writes:

NYS Senator Mark Grisanti

NYS Senator Mark Grisanti

Though he’s chair of the State Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, Senator Mark Grisanti continues to throw New Yorkers under the bus when it comes to fracking, one of the state’s most pressing environmental threats. A recent letter to Governor Cuomo and acting Health Commissioner Zucker by hundreds of medical organizations and health experts summarized key emerging trends and concerns regarding the science on fracking. The letter stated, “The totality of the science—which now encompasses hundreds of peer–reviewed studies and hundreds of additional reports and case examples—shows that permitting fracking in New York would pose significant threats to the air, water, health and safety of New Yorkers.”

Thankfully the State Assembly does realize that fracking has far-reaching public health impacts, and that a rush to drill a terrible idea. On June 16, the Assembly overwhelming passed a 3-year moratorium on fracking. The Assembly stood up for the health and safety of New Yorkers, and we are grateful. Now it’s up to the reluctant State Senate to pass the same bill, and to the governor to sign it into law. Grisanti can use his leadership to move the bill out of committee so it can get to the floor for a vote by Friday June 20th. Call Senator Grisanti at 518-455-3240 and tell him to move Senate Bill 4236-B, the 3-year moratorium on fracking, out of the EnCon Committee and to the floor for a vote now.

Sadly, if Senator Grisanti does not step up to protect New Yorkers from fracking, it would not be the first time. On April 29th Grisanti also voted down a bill that he was forced to confront that would have banned the disposal of hazardous fracking waste in the state. Committee Chairman Grisanti declared before the vote that “I’m not actually sure that this is actually taking place” even though in 2013 alone 70,000 tons of solid fracking waste entered New York landfills, and over 288,000 gallons of liquid fracking waste were spread on New York roadways or entered treatment facilities.

It’s shocking that the chair of the environmental committee doesn’t think fracking waste disposal is occurring and isn’t a problem. Federal and state exemptions allow drillers that pump harmful chemicals into the ground to process the wastes that come back up as standard industrial waste. Carcinogenic benzene, toluene, and formaldehyde are common frack fluid ingredients and the returning flowback water also brings up naturally occurring salts, heavy metals and radioactive particles. Because New York lacks the proper regulatory framework, adequate enforcement capacity, and appropriate infrastructure to properly handle radioactive and hazardous drilling waste, all disposal must be banned until these gross deficiencies can be remedied.

Fracking is New York’s most paramount and impending environmental threat, and with EPA establishing a link between fracking and tainted water in WY, TX, and PA, it’s obvious that if fracking in New York were to move forward now, it would be a disaster for the state. Senator Grisanti must use his position in the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee to protect New Yorkers from fracking and fracking waste now.

Rita Yelda is the Western New York Organizer for Food & Water Watch, a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food.

  • HapKlein

    Great letter from Rita and points up the continuing unification of Senator Grisanti to the Albany Republican Central Command and move away from the constituents of his District.

    His disavowal of knowledge of the dumping of Fracking Waste into the landfills is especially galling since the problems have been are in some state of litigation and notorious for a couple of years. He probably restricts his reading to the National Review now that he has settled into what he must perceive as permanent incumbency.

    One would hope just the horrors taking place in very nearby Pennsylvania would awaken him to many of the dangers we face if the state ever allowed tracking prior to the industry adopting greater care in the drilling and character of the waste water.

    But with the energy lobby pouring money into campaign tubs it could be difficult to convince many subservient legislators to understand something that if they do understand could reduce the cash flow. Blinders are a very handy political tool.

    But I do hope somebody can come forward to run against him and provide honest representation of the Public Good in his District. Many of us had hope for a while but the Senator now belongs to Albany not we his constituents.

  • marinemec

    This article says thousands respond against NY enviromental threats. How much is actual truth, and how much is rhetoric is stemming from the MIDEAST? Anti’s are convinced that their water will be polluted from HF when in fact their water from wells drilled in the Marcellus shale area already contain the same natural chemicals from the shale itself these people are complaining about. Radiation and oil related chemicals have been in water wells that many people drink for generations which is a Natural growing problem that needs to be addressed. Drilling has made people aware that their water is not as good as they thought and this is where the rhetoric starts. Leaving everything alone is no different than keeping blinders on concerning naturally polluted water wells which many in these shale areas have methane under fantastic pressure, and is now pushing out of the ground naturally which these anti’s are comfortable with when this could be virtually stopped with relieving the pressure through responsible drilling. Little or low information people are just not capable or choose to be blind about the realities of leaving these issues alone. Imagine, an earthquake that releases billions of cubic feet of NG at once in our atmosphere which could happen in many areas around the world. Many scientists believe that many earthquakes are caused by built up pressure from NG naturally. Injecting waste into the ground in Ohio is an example of pressure causing tremors which needs to be stopped. These activists need to rethink their allegations against these issues and address the real growing problems below the ground.