By Lauren Zaepfel
The Wheatfield Town Board approved a six-month moratorium Monday night on the sale, application, disposal, extraction and storage of waste associated with fracking (formally known as hydraulic fracturing), in the town.
Town Attorney Matthew Brooks said waste from fracking has been used on roads as a deicer and for other industrial applications in other municipalities.
"The moratorium gives the town some time to study this, see what other municipalities may have done and then act to protect our residents and our most important resource, the Niagara River," Town of Wheatfield Supervisor Robert B. Cliffe said.
The idea of implementing a moratorium was initially brought up by resident and Wheatfield Action Team member Monica Daigler during the Dec. 21 Town Board meeting in effort to prevent use of fracking waste within the town.
Cliffe said the moratorium does not directly reflect upon National Fuel's dehydrator, which would be used to extract moisture out of gas on the way to Canada from Pennsylvania as part of the Northern Access 2016 Project. But, he said, "Should National Fuel build that facility here ... perhaps we should make sure that they, nor anyone else, uses this as a processing area for fracking waste."
Brooks said the moratorium is not as stringent or as restrictive as a local law, however it can be prepared much faster than a local law.
"It's sort of a temporary stopgap measure to provide for the outright use of this type of material in the town. Specifically, it's setting forth the town policy, and the town policy is we're not going to use it and we're going to prevent any other governmental organizations - put them on notice that they're not to use it in the Town," Brooks said.
The board also voted in favor of a second resolution to request the Niagara County Legislature to review the same issues related to fracking waste and adopt a local law to ban its storage, disposal, treatment and other applications on land within the county as a whole.
"Hopefully, they are of the same mind," Brooks said.