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October 19, 2018  |  

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Fracking Waste Ordinance Goes to Clinton Voters May 8

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Clinton residents will have the opportunity to cast a vote on a proposed ordinance that would prohibit activities associated with fracking waster in the town on Tuesday, May 8 at 5:30 p.m. at Town Hall.

Fracking waste, as the name suggests, is a byproduct of fracking, which uses high-pressure water to extract petroleum products from bedrock. Proponents of fracking cite the ability to retrieve the resources as a way to reduce a reliance on foreign oil products. Opponents point to environmental concerns such as water contamination and the possibility that fracking can be linked to earth tremors.

While fracking is not practiced in the state, the amount of waste generated at fracking sites often requires the waste to move across state lines either for disposal or repurposing. Due to Connecticut’s proximity to Pennsylvania, a state with a large fracking industry, local groups have been looking a ways to ban the liquid waste within this state.

In Connecticut, there is a state-wide moratorium on fracking waste storage that is scheduled to lapse on July 1. Additionally, some states that allow fracking ship the waste associated with the practice to other states where it can be stored. In response, several towns in Connecticut have passed ordinances to protect the municipalities from what some say are loopholes in the state’s ban. Madison is one of the towns that passed one such ordinance in April.

If the ordinance were to pass, it would prohibit “the storage, disposal, or use of waste from oil and gas explorations or extraction activities or any derivative thereof in the Town of Clinton, Connecticut.” Additionally, the text reads that the testing of any waste would be done “via contacting [the state Department of Energy & Environmental Protection] or other third-party analytical laboratories as is current practice of the Town of Clinton for other exposures to potentially hazardous chemical situations.”

The ordinance does not appear to directly relate to a proposed industrials waste recycling facility that has drawn impassioned responses from residents (for more on this proposal, visit www.zip06.com). However, one of the complaints that some opponents have made against the facility is what they perceive as an inability to safely regulate what waste would come into the facility. One of the prohibitions listed in the proposed ordinance is “the introduction of natural gas waste or oil waste into any solid waste management facility within or operated by the Town of Clinton is prohibited,” which would appear to apply to the facility.

The penalties for breaking the ordinance are a $250 fine, a cease and desist order, the ability to seek legal relief, the ability to file a complaint with any other proper authority and “require remediation of any damage done to any land, road, building, aquifer, well, watercourse, air quality or other asset, be it public or private, within the Town of Clinton. The Town of Clinton may recoup from the offending person(s), jointly and severally, all costs, including experts, consultants and reasonable attorney’s fees, that it incurs as a result of having to prosecute or remediate any infraction of this ordinance.”

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