Ithaca, N.Y. — The Tompkins County Legislature unanimously voted Tuesday night to ban the sale of waste associated with oil and natural gas exploration, extraction, and storage activities, according to a statement from the county.

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Legislator Mike Sigler was excused from the vote.

“The Law notes that toxins and radioactive materials found in oil and gas waste are detrimental to the public health and should be kept out of the county water supply and off county roadways,” a statement says.

The law prohibits the use of natural gas or oil waste on any road or property in Tompkins County.

The Voice covered the law when it was still a proposal from Legislator Dan Klein.

See related: Citing importance of clean water, official moves to ban fracking waste in Tompkins

From our previous reporting:

“Fracking is banned in New York State, but Tompkins County is still vulnerable to some of the negative effects of the petroleum industry,” Klein says.

Here’s the problem, according to Klein: Fracking produces a brine by-product filled with carcinogenic chemicals and low levels of radioactivity. The easiest way to get rid of that for some companies is by selling it. Even though fracking is illegal in NY, the toxic waste by-product can still be sold for different uses (like for clearing snow and ice from roads) in Tompkins County, according to Klein.

What Klein wants to do: Klein is moving forward with a resolution that would make it illegal to use fracking waste on local roads or in local wastewater treatment plants.


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.