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Earth Week: Focus on Keeping Fracking Waste Out of CT

PHOTO: Connecticut is not cost-effective turf for natural-gas "fracking" but conservation advocates are sending an Earth Week message to bar fracking waste from wells like this one from entering the state. Photo credit: Wikipedia.
PHOTO: Connecticut is not cost-effective turf for natural-gas "fracking" but conservation advocates are sending an Earth Week message to bar fracking waste from wells like this one from entering the state. Photo credit: Wikipedia.
April 24, 2014

HARTFORD, Conn. – Connecticut may not be the most welcoming or cost-effective state for natural gas fracking, but conservation advocates are nevertheless sending an Earth Week message to ban fracking waste from entering the state.

It has been a busy week for John Calandrelli, program director for the Connecticut chapter of the Sierra Club.

He addressed the Spring Fling at University of Connecticut earlier this week and today he’s at Housatonic Community College, talking about the growing movement to prevent fracking waste from entering the state.

"We are getting a lot of response from people calling into the governor and leadership,” he relates, “trying to become the second state in the country to ban the importation of fracking waste."

Vermont was the first state in the nation to ban importation of fracking waste.

Gov. Dan Malloy's office reports receiving more than 6,000 signatures in support of SB 237, the measure that would ban fracking waste in Connecticut.

Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia are all reported to be considering Connecticut as a possible place to deposit waste from natural gas fracturing operations and Calandrelli says the state needs to get out in front on this issue.

"It's extremely toxic, and the people who allow toxic in other states make too much of the fracking waste to deal with it on their own,” he said. “So they are trying to ship it to other states."

The industry says fracking is safe and some proponents contend the process can help save water, but Calandrelli maintains the risks far outweigh any potential benefits.

"We don't want to put it here in fracking waste ponds where it will leak and evaporate,” he explains. “We don't want to put it in our sewage treatment plants, because we don't have the technology to deal with it – and we certainly don't want it to de-ice our roads."

Calandrelli says waste from natural gas drilling is poorly regulated by the federal government, so the state needs to take action.

More Earth Week events are planned for this weekend, including in Woodbury on Saturday and the Hartford Riverfront on Sunday.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - CT