Keep Dangerous Chemicals Off New York Roads

  • by: Lauren S
  • recipient: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
New York State has placed a moratorium on the natural gas extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing or "fracking." But some find that hasn't stopped the state from allowing some municipalities to spread fracking byproduct known as "production brine" on their roads as a dust control method, road stabilizer, or de-icer.

A spokesperson for the DEC has said that the brine used to de-ice roads in New York state does not come from hydrofracking, but does come from other types of oil and gas production. WAMC's coverage notes that the DEC "also says that high levels of sodium chloride and/or calcium chloride are..required, for the brine to be useful for road de-icing or road stabilization."

Capital New York quotes scientist Bill Wegner of Riverkeeper on the dangers of using production brine for these purposes. Many of these chemicals are dangerous to humans and the environment, as well as corrosive to infrastructure. Riverkeeper obtained this information through the Freedom of Information Law.

Even if the chemicals used in de-icing are not exclusively from the process of hydrofracking, Riverkeeper's report still calls into question the effectiveness of the regulations in place to minimize the environmental impact of chemicals use to keep roads clear in the winter. Tighter regulations and investment in eco-friendly chemicals could help protect New York's environment.

Sign this petition to let New York's DEC know that you want to keep potentially harmful chemicals off our road

We, the undersigned, ask the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to take action to ensure that byproducts from oil and gas productions (including hydraulic fracturing) are subjected to more rigorous testing before being used in ways that could potentially harm the environment. We also ask that the DEC look into eco-friendly alternatives to de-ice New York's roads to curb the use of potentially harmful chemicals.

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