Food & Water Watch's Alex Beauchamp speaks at a rally before the City Council vote.
New York’s statewide fracking ban in 2014 was a watershed moment for health and public safety in our state. But in terms of protecting residents from all hazards associated with fossil fuel extraction, it wasn’t the end of the story. The movement that banned fracking in New York is hard at work fighting fracking infrastructure and the growing threat of fracking waste.
Today marked a new milestone in that fight: New York City Councilman Stephen Levin’s bill to ban all oil and gas drilling waste from New York City passed the full council. With this law, New Yorkers will be protected from the serious harms that toxic, radioactive oil and gas drilling waste poses to our communities.
The bill sets an important precedent: New York is the first city in the nation to not only ban fracking waste, but also prohibit waste from all oil and gas drilling.
Here’s what Levin’s bill does:
• Prohibits the discharge of any oil or natural gas waste to any surface water bodies located within the City, or to any wastewater treatment plant located within the City.
• Bans the application of any oil or natural gas waste upon any road, real property or landfill located within the City.
• Requires all City bids or contracts for the construction or maintenance of a City road to include a provision stating that no materials containing or manufactured from oil or natural gas waste shall be utilized in providing the service.
This is great news for New Yorkers, and we hope towns and cities across the country follow the city’s lead. We must not only stop fracking itself, but all the related problems, from waste disposal to dangerous pipelines to new fracked gas power plants.
This wouldn’t have happened without a huge grassroots movement and a true coalition effort, including our allies at United for Action, Riverkeeper, Sane Energy Project, NYPIRG, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, League of Women Voters, the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, Damascus, Grassroots Environmental Education, and many other groups.
Together, we’ve shown once again that we can defeat the oil and gas industry. Today is a huge victory for all New Yorkers!