Activists opposed to “fracking,” or hydraulic fracturing, are expected to converge on the 14th floor of the Rath County Office Building today when County Executive Mark Poloncarz holds a public hearing on a bill to ban the controversial gas drilling procedure on county property.
The bill to prohibit fracking on county-owned property passed the County Legislature in a 9-2 vote on Dec. 12.
The measure also would prohibit the storage, disposal or treatment of fracking byproducts at county-owned wastewater treatment facilities or their use on county roads.
Fracking opponents have urged Poloncarz to sign the legislation, saying it would protect residents from contaminated water and air, and would put the health of citizens in Erie County and New York state above the interests of corporate profits.
Critics of the law say it’s unnecessary because the county already has statutes in place protecting county land and that the new measure will just lead to lawsuits.
Fracking has yet to occur in New York State, as the administration of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo continues to study the issue.
The local law would not affect property owned by private industries.
Today’s public hearing begins at 4 p.m. in Room 1404.