Citing a concern over the potential development of a private hydrofracking waste treatment facility at the former Buckbee Mears plant in Cortland, some county lawmakers are calling for a local law that would prohibit “fracking” waste from being brought into Cortland County.
At Thursday’s County Agriculture, Planning, and Environment Committee meeting Democratic Legislator Kathie Arnold urged the committee to consider drafting a local ordinance that would ban the sale of fracking waste, its use on county roads and private land, and its introduction into county or privately-run wastewater treatment plants.
Previously the county adopted law banning fracking waste from being dumped into the county landfill, and the City of Cortland has rules in place prohibiting the waste products from being introduced into the local waste water treatment plant.
Arnold is looking to take the prohibitions a step further, she is concerned that a private developer or landowner could bring the waste into the county and begin processing it. Arnold is also looking to prevent salt brine from fracking operations from being spread on local roads.
Arnold says the local League of Women Voters is promoting the legislation, she says a few downstate counties including Westchester and Putnam have adopted similar bans, she is looking to model local legislation after those bans.
Arnold says there is concern that the former B-M-C plant which is currently up for sale and has built in waste water treatment facility could be purchased by a developer or drilling company and be converted into a “fracking” waste processing facility.
Cortland County Industrial Development Director Gary VanGorder says while the B-M-C plant is headed to a sale at the end of this month and there has been some interest in the property from developers, there have been no inquires from developers or companies affiliated with the natural gas industry.
VanGorder says the waste water treatment facility at the former manufacturing plant is non-functional and developing the 50 acre site into a “fracking” waste processing plant is not in the I-D-A’s plan and is not the best use of the industrially zoned property.
Arnold plans to bring a draft law to the committee in May; it will then be reviewed by the County Attorney’s Office. Lawmakers could vote on the proposal in June.