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Moratorium on fracking waste is approved in Wheatfield

WHEATFIELD — The Town Board voted Monday in favor of a six-month moratorium on the storage or application of waste from hydraulic fracturing on any land or road in the town.

Asked whether any such material has been used in Wheatfield, Town Attorney Matthew E. Brooks said, “No, and we don’t want any, either.”

Some municipalities have used water from fracking to melt ice because of its salinity, Brooks said.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has been barred in New York State by the Department of Environmental Conservation.

The fracking process uses high-pressure water and chemicals to push oil and natural gas out of crevices in underground rock, and has resulted in an energy boom in several states, including Pennsylvania.

National Fuel will hold a public meeting from 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 13 in the Wheatfield Community Center behind Town Hall, 2800 Church Road, in an effort to counteract public agitation against its pipeline project to move fracked gas from Pennsylvania to Canada.

However, the company has said that it will admit only those who preregister for the meeting by emailing their name and address to corpcomm@natfuel.com.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has the final say on whether and where the pipeline and associated facilities will be built.

In Wheatfield, the company wants to build a gas dehydration station on Liberty Drive. In Pendleton, two powerful compressors to move the gas along are being sought for a site on Killian Road.

Related: Taking a stance against fracking waste.

“In reality, there’s very little the town or any of you folks can do to stop this thing,” Wheatfield Supervisor Robert B. Cliffe told the audience.

“What we can do is hold their feet to the fire.”

Opponents have contended that poisonous gases from the fracking process, such as benzene, could be emitted by the gas dehydration station. The company says the hydrocarbons removed from the gas in the dewatering process would be 99 percent destroyed at the station.

“What’s in the 1 percent?” Councilman Larry L. Helwig asked.

The Town Board also passed a motion asking the Niagara County Legislature to pass the same law, as well as one that would prohibit fracking in the county.

(c)2016 The Buffalo News (Buffalo, N.Y.)

This article was written by Thomas J. Prohaska from The Buffalo News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.