NYC to Upstate: “Take Our Trash, But Don’t Frack”

cost of renewables - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW


Some truly egregious hypocrisy is coming out of New York City these days as the Manhattanites send Upstate their garbage but demand it not support fracking.

An annoyed reader wrote me to point out some stunning hypocrisy on the part of trendy NYC folks who oppose fracking Upstate (or anywhere else for that matter). They use natural gas and a lot of it. It’s cleaning up their air big-time and saving lives, in fact. Yet, they don’t want Upstater producing it for them or even accommodating fracking next door in Pennsylvania. But, that wasn’t the hypocrisy our reader had in mind.


Example of trailer used to bring NYC trash to Upstate landfill

No, our reader works Upstate and he’s noticed something:

This is a topic that never seems to get mentioned about upstate/downstate politics so I thought I would mention it to you.

You seem to be the  only one through your website and articles that is still fighting.

One of the things that really frosts me about the ban on fracking  in New York is the hypocrisy of the downstate region when it comes to them shipping their garbage to upstate New York and Pennsylvania. They seem to have no problem with soiling our environment with their waste.

Nearly every time I drive on Route 86 in my county I see loaded downstate tractor trailer  garbage scows heading west and empty ones heading east.

I live in Chemung County. Years ago they had the forethought to construct a certified county landfill with about 100 years capacity. When other counties’ were scrambling to find a place for their trash in certified landfills in the 80’s and 90’s, we already had one.

With increasing costs due to NYS mandates such as Medicaid, a lack of any type of economic base,  costs of operating the landfill, and to get a cut of the tipping fees  Chemung County officials sold it.

The landfill has now at least doubled in size already (there goes the 100 year capacity) with waste mainly from New York and New Jersey.

Apparently we are good enough for downstate to dispose of their trash in our region but we are not good enough to be allowed any of the prosperity that would go along with natural gas and oil development.

I share this reader’s disgust at the hypocrisy with NYC fractivists who happily send their trash Upstate and to Pennsylvania while denying Upstaters any opportunities for economic prosperity from fracking. It gets worse though, as Jim Willis pointed out yesterday at Marcellus Drilling News. He quotes an article in the Albany Times-Union noting this (emphasis added):

Opponents of natural gas fracking continue to press the state Department of Environmental Conservation over proposed new rules that would allow landfills in New York to continue accepting tons of such waste from neighboring Pennsylvania.

Since 2010, landfills in the western part of the state have taken more than 600,000 ton of such solid waste, with another 22,000 barrels of liquids from fracking wells across the border, according to a report issued by Environmental Advocates of New York.

Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Democrat from Manhattan, and Assemblyman David Buchwald, a Democrat from Westchester County, said Friday that the figures show the need for their proposed law that would ban any imports of fracking waste.

“We need to do more, and our bill bans accepting such waste at landfills and water treatment plants, as well for for use in spreading on roads as a de-icer,” said Hoylman. “This bill would serve as the gold standard that DEC looks to.”

Legislative efforts to ban these waste imports first occurred in 2012 and have failed to clear the Legislature.

DEC spokesman Sean Mahar said the Environmental Advocates report was inaccurate. New waste rules proposed by DEC last year would require landfills to add radioactivity sensors. Fracking wastes can contain natural low-level radiation. The proposed regulations would set limits on landfill acceptance of materials with natural low-level radiation.

“With its strict oversight, DEC continues to see no evidence of pollution associated with drilling waste at landfills,” said Mahar.

Environmental Advocates water analyst Elizabeth Moran said figures from Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection show that the Chemung County landfill has accepted about half of the total fracking waste – 323,000 tons – imported since 2010.

Yes, Manhattan fractivist legislator Brad Hoylman wants the inexpensive gas New York uses more of every year, wants the cleaner air it delivers, wants to send his filthy garbage Upstate; but is opposed to accepting non-polluting fracking wastes from Pennsylvania producers of that gas even though he doesn’t want it produced Upstate either. Big Apple demagoguery is as big as it gets.



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