April 2, 2014

City of Plattsburgh takes stand on hydrofracking

PLATTSBURGH — City of Plattsburgh councilors agreed to a resolution banning several activities associated with hydraulic fracturing, joining a long list of communities across the state to do so.

“There are 210 communities across the state that have done this, and I would be very proud if we can add the city to that growing list,” Councilor Michael Kelly said at a recent Common Council meeting.

Hydraulic fracturing is a method of drilling into the ground to extract oil and natural gas from shale-rock formations deep beneath the earth’s surface.

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

The process, known as hydrofracking, has been controversial across the state.

Opponents claim it can contaminate groundwater and cause other environmental and health problems, while supporters say it boosts the economy and creates jobs.

Hydrofracking is banned in New York state, but there has been talk of lifting the prohibition.


Kelly (D-Ward 2) sought to have the council prohibit five specific activities linked to hydrofracking within the city:

• Use of the City of Plattsburgh’s wastewater system for the disposal of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing.

• Construction of pipelines whose primary purpose is to transport natural gas from hydraulic-fracturing operations.

• Construction of any storage facility whose primary purpose is storage of natural gas produced by hydraulic fracturing.

• Mining or otherwise extracting sand and other solid materials used in the hydraulic-fracturing process.

• Use of the City of Plattsburgh’s water supply for hydraulic fracturing purposes


The resolution also called for the council and Mayor James Calnon to sign a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo thanking him for prohibiting hydrofracking in the state and encouraging him to ban the practice permanently.

“My initial proposal was quite different than this one, but we got some good contributions from the council and the community, and it was just my job to coordinate them into a meaningful — and hopefully lasting — resolution,” Kelly said.

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