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At least two members of the Buffalo Common Council plan to reaffirm their opposition to hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” during a news conference at noon today in the Council’s conference room at City Hall.

“Buffalo was the first city in New York State and one of the first in the nation to pass a bill to ban fracking,” Majority Leader Demone Smith said Sunday. “Our bill was passed unanimously, and a group of public officials will gather Monday to reaffirm our support for it.”

Smith, a Democrat representing the Masten District, will be joined today by Niagara Council Member David Rivera, according to an announcement Sunday from an organization called Elected Officials to Protect New York. Rivera, a Democrat, could not be reached Sunday.

Smith said he expects Rivera to be present, “and maybe some other members of the Council, since we passed the anti-fracking bill unanimously.”

Others expected to participate include Town Councilman Patrick Murphy of Colden, Deputy Mayor Libby Weberg of East Aurora and Deputy Supervisor Dominic Frongillo of the Town of Caroline in Tompkins County, southeast of Ithaca.

They are among more than 590 elected officials from throughout the state who “take objection to the fact that New York State has not considered the negative economic impacts of fracking, the health costs and the heavy municipal burdens that would be associated with fracking,” according to Elected Officials to Protect New York.

Buffalo’s ban on fracking, enacted about two years ago, is largely symbolic, because no fracking projects have been proposed in the city.

Fracking is a method of forcing chemically treated water into fissures deep underground to force out natural gas. Proponents say it is a way to reduce the United States’ dependence on fuels from foreign countries.

No known deposits of natural gas lie in the Marcellus Shale beneath Buffalo. Nevertheless, the city became the first in the state to ban fracking. Nationwide, Pittsburgh was the first major city to do so.

Opponents say fracking comes with risks such as the possible contamination of the water supply. The state has imposed a temporary ban on fracking until the risks are thoroughly understood. Elected Officials to Protect New York said Sunday that its members urge “the governor to continue the ban on fracking until and unless the drilling method is proven safe for all New Yorkers.”

email: rbaldwin@buffnews.com