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City, county consider hydrofracking regs


PLATTSBURGH — Although the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing is not taking place in the City of Plattsburgh, Councilor Michael Kelly wants to make sure it never does.

“There is shale here, so it could happen,” Kelly (D-Ward 2) told the Press-Republican recently.

Kelly said he will offer a resolution before the City Common Council that would prohibit any hydrofracking from taking place in the city, prevent any activities associated with hydrofracking, such as storage of fracking waste and using city water for fracking purposes, and support the state ban on hydrofracking.

There has been speculation that Gov. Andrew Cuomo might end the ban, but Kelly said he hopes not.

“I think we need to thank the governor for holding the line on this and encourage him to continue to do so,” Kelly said.


Hydraulic fracturing, also known as hydrofracking, is a method of drilling into the ground to extract oil and natural gas from shale-rock formations deep beneath the Earth’s surface, according to published reports.

High-pressured fluids are pumped into the underground rock formations to create fissures through which trapped oil and gas escapes so it can be collected, explains the EnergyFromShale website.

The practice is very controversial, as opponents have raised concerns that hydrofracking can contaminate groundwater and cause air and noise pollution.

Proponents argue that the practice harvests inexpensive energy and creates jobs.


The Clinton County Legislature’s Transportation Committee recently had a brief discussion about banning hydrofracking waste from the County Landfill on Sand Road. Legislators are also concerned about the fracking byproduct of brine being used on county roads as a melting agent in the winter.

Legislator Harry McManus (D-Area 1, Champlain), who chairs the Transportation Committee, said the Health and Public Safety committees also have been talking about hydrofracking in detail, and a resolution should be coming forward in the next month or two.

McManus said the main concern is keeping hydrofracking waste out of the landfill.

“It doesn’t seem feasible for companies to truck the waste up here because of the distance and cost, so that probably will never be a problem, but the general feeling is that we should go on record saying we feel this is dangerous to have in our landfill and on our roads,” he said.


Brine is not used on Clinton County roads, McManus said.

With its high levels of chloride, benzene and toluene (a benzene derivative that smells like paint thinner), brine can reportedly can get into water systems and cause health problems.

“This issue will have gone through three committees, so I think there should be enough support for a resolution,” McManus said.

“I certainly support it.”

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