For Immediate Release: September 12, 2012
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Wagner Calls for Fracking Ban
Legislator Leading Charge Against Hydrofracking Stands with Wagner
Peekskill, NY – Citing incumbent Republican Senator Greg Ball’s failure to back up his many public statements with meaningful action on hydrofracking, State Senate candidate Justin Wagner announced his unequivocal opposition to hydrofracking in New York State today in Peekskill. Standing with Wagner was Senator Tony Avella (D-Queens), the leading voice in the fight to protect New Yorkers from the dangers of fracking. Fracking, or “hydraulic fracturing,” is an unsafe natural gas drilling and extraction method with the potential to pollute watersheds on a catastrophic scale, poisoning New Yorkers’ drinking water and farmland alike.
“Greg Ball does a good job posing for the cameras on hydrofracking, but voters are learning this issue is like everything else – Greg Ball is all talk and no action” said Wagner. “I favor a full ban, while Senator Ball has proposed a moratorium that would expire in just nine months. Even on that limited proposal, while he’s taken plenty of victory laps, he hasn’t lifted a finger to pass it in Albany.”
Another bill Ball sponsors, S. 1074, makes polluting a water supply a crime, but is specifically written to exempt industrial activity – something the Wagner camp has called the “Ball Loophole” on hydrofracking.
At Peekskill’s Riverfront Green Park, Wagner laid out his full position on hydraulic fracturing. “The science is clear: hydraulic fracturing for natural gas is not safe. The industry can’t safely guard against groundwater contamination yet, and we don’t have the proper procedures to deal with hazardous waste. New York’s shale gas resources aren’t going anywhere – we can afford to wait, and we can’t afford not to.”
Wagner stated his first priorities would be a moratorium and legislation effectively banning hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in New York State, both goals on which Sen. Ball has produced no results. Last year, Senator Avella introduced S. 4220, a bill to ban hydrofracking entirely. Sen. Ball has not signed onto this bill, and the Senate’s Republican majority, of which Ball is a member, has refused to hold hearings or schedule votes on the measure.
Justin Wagner stated his commitment to partnering with Sen. Avella to pass S. 4220, so New Yorkers will not have to worry about a ticking moratorium clock that set to expire. Wagner also committed to pushing additional environmental protections, with or without a full ban in place. These include:
Close the hazardous waste loophole: wastewater from the fracking process is exempted from rules governing the treatment of hazardous waste, a huge loophole in New York’s existing laws. Sen. Avella’s bill to fix this, S. 4616, passed the Assembly and died in the Senate, even though Sen. Ball is a cosponsor and claims to support it. Conveniently, Senate Republican leaders – the same ones who have given Ball hundreds of thousands in campaign money – used tricks in Senate procedure to prevent this bill from getting a vote, so Ball has not had to vote on the bill and prove where he stands.
Require full disclosure of chemicals in fracking fluid: fracking involves pumping a mix of chemicals, water, and sand into the ground, to fracture underground rock containing trapped natural gas, but the drilling companies believe they have the right to keep the composition of these chemicals a secret – even though that secret can endanger public health.
Conduct a full assessment of hydrofracking’s health impacts: hydrofracking could introduce multiple carcinogens into our environment and potentially cause a new epidemic of cancer and other illnesses, but Sen. Ball’s Senate Republican backers have repeatedly fought off attempts to require a health impact study.
“We’ve all seen Ball’s lawn signs and billboards that say ‘gettin’ it done’ – but Greg Ball hasn’t gotten anything done on fracking,” said Wagner. “It’s time the Hudson Valley had a senator who works for results – not just headlines.”
Justin Wagner is running to represent the Hudson Valley’s 40th Senate District in the New York State Senate. He is an attorney raising his family in Croton-on-Hudson. The 40th District, which includes portions of Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties, is one of the most competitive in the state, with first-term Senator Greg Ball winning just 51% of the vote in 2010.
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