Activist Urges Greenburgh To Support Anti-Fracking Bill

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Susan Van Dolsen, co-founder of Westchester for Change, shows a map of the Marcellus Shale in New York to AAUW members in Greenburgh on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Samantha Kramer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Just because Greenburgh land doesn't cover the Marcellus Shale, it doesn't mean the area can't be affected by hydraulic fracking, an activist said Wednesday.

Wastewater from fracking, which is sometimes used to spread on roads for de-icing and dust control, is a health hazard for Westchester County citizens, said Susan Van Dolsen, co-founder of Westchester for Change, a White Plains-based community activist group.

Speaking at the Greenburgh Public Library on Wednesday, Van Dolsen urged members of the American Association of University Women's Westchester County branch to write letters to their local legislators to support a bill that would ban the fracking waste from Westchester County.

"I do believe this is the biggest environmental and health issue in our world today," Van Dolsen said about fracking. "It's hard to believe this process is actually permitted."

Fracking has been a major focus of Westchester for Change ever since its members learned that fracking's impacts aren't just on people who allow drilling in their backyard, Van Dolsen said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's decision on whether to allow the process is currently at a standstill as the Department of Environmental Conservation continues its review.

But in July, the Westchester County Board of Legislators created a bill that would ban treatment of fracking wastewater in the county's sewage plants and its use on roads. The board has met at least once a month to review the legislation, which is still pending.

Health and environmental impacts aren't the only issues the radioactive waste raises, according to Van Dolsen. Major insurance companies like Nationwide have refused to cover anything related to hydraulic fracking, she said.

She urged Greenburgh residents to write to Westchester County Legislator Alfreda Williams (D-Greenburgh), Assemblyman Tom Abinanti (D-Greenburgh, Mount Pleasant) and Governor Cuomo to voice their concerns on the issue.

AAUW member Sandra Flank said that, after personally speaking with Pennsylvania residents who have benefited financially from allowing fracking, she's still on the fence about the issue.

"Almost universally, people there are much in favor. Their towns have come back, their schools have money," Flank said. "I'm not saying I'm for fracking, but I don't know that gasoline is a good alternative for it."

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Great! Something else Feiner can use for deflecting attention from his screw-ups.

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