New Milford Bans Fracking Waste
By: Helen R. Applebaum, Executive Committee and newsletter editor, Connecticut Chapter Sierra Club
NEW MILFORD, Conn. -- New Milford became the 21st Connecticut town to Ban Fracking Waste from its community on Monday, July 10, 2017. Mayor David Gronbach and the New Milford Town Council unanimously voted to ban toxic, radioactive fracking waste from the community at a regularly scheduled Town Council meeting.
The information presented to the Mayor and Town Council reminded them that cancer-causing PCBs were previously abandoned in New Milford at the Century Brass Factory. The site was remediated, after decades, with expensive clean-up. Now, carcinogenic radioactive and chemical contamination from fracking waste is spreading in other states, due to accidents, spills, leaks and discharge after treatment efforts.
Few know that radium exists in fracking wastes, but a state law passed three years ago will allow fracking waste among other things to be sent to hazardous waste treatment facilities in Connecticut.
Ban Fracking Waste, was the committee formed in New Milford. It obtained 164 valid signatures, giving the committee Power of Initiative. With one percent of registered voters signed on, the petition was sized to obtain an ordinance. The Connecticut Chapter Sierra Club and Food & Water Watch partnership helped achieve the ban by providing their expertise to carry the petition forward.
CT legislators have missed three opportunities in five years to enact a state-wide ban. State law mandates that rules for importing and handling this hazardous waste be submitted for review, starting July 1st.
Mayor Gronbach, far right and committee members and townsfolk who testified at the Town Council.
Lacking a legislative ban, now 21 Connecticut towns and cities have passed ordinances prohibiting fracking waste, protecting properties, public health, natural resources and future taxpayer burdens.
The clock is ticking. Anytime this summer, State regulations for importing this hazardous waste can be submitted for review. Residents and leaders in towns other than the 21 that have passed the ordinance should do everything to make sure it doesn’t end up in their communities, in storage tanks, in contaminated fill, or potentially as partially-treated, but still contaminated effluent sent to town waste water facilities.
All towns governed by state statute, and some towns’ charters, allow for petition initiatives. Elected officials can also choose to be champions for their town.
For information for your town, contact www.foodandwaterwatch.org