Niagara Falls, New York - With an end to New York's statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing in sight, residents of Niagara Falls were alarmed to learn that wastewater from the controversial natural gas drilling practice could soon be shipped by truck or rail to their city and treated at the local wastewater treatment plant, just a few miles upstream from the massive Niagara Falls international waterfall.
On Thursday, about 30 local residents and members of environmental groups crammed into the Niagara Falls Water Board monthly meeting to voice their concerns. Some came armed with environmental reports on the variety of toxic and radioactive chemicals that can be found in hydraulic fracturing wastewater.
Others carried the memory of Love Canal, a residential neighborhood in Niagara Falls where schools and homes were built on a toxic chemical waste dump. President Jimmy Carter declared Love Canal a federal emergency in 1978 and the area was partially evacuated amid demonstrations and national media attention.
"We need to take a look at the risks before we look at dollar signs ... we don't need another Love Canal," activist Rita Yelda told the water board.