Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Council Votes to Ban Hydraulic Fracturing

By Brian Meyer
February 8, 2011
Buffalo, New York

The Common Council has voted to ban any form of natural gas extraction in Buffalo, including a controversial mining technique known as hydrofracking.

Ban supporters admit this afternoon's unanimous vote is largely symbolic, given the fact that no "fracking" projects have been proposed in Buffalo. But they insist the ban could be a catalyst in spurring similar actions in municipalities in New York, Pennsylvania and other states where gas-rich Marcellus Shale is located.

"We're hoping Southern Tier communities will do the same thing," said North representative Joseph Golombek Jr., the bill's lead sponsor. "This action shows that the lead city in the region is taking a lead role."

No known deposits of Marcellus Shale underlie Buffalo.

Fracking opponents claim the drilling process possesses significant environmental risks, including possible contamination of water tables. The State Legislature last year imposed a temporary ban on fracking through May 15, pending further study.
About 50 fracking opponents held a news conference following the Council vote. They praised lawmakers for making Buffalo for the first city in the state and only the second major city nationwide to impose such a ban. Last fall, Pittsburgh banned fracking.......continued........