Earthworks, Environmental Advocates of New York, and Riverkeeper, Inc., appreciate the opportunity to comment on New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (NYSDEC or the Department) consideration of a proposed expansion of the Hakes C&D Debris Landfill in Steuben County, New York.
Along with this comment letter, we are submitting our detailed technical comments from 2016 and 2017 on the Department’s Part 360 series of regulations related to the management and disposal of oil and gas exploration, development, and production wastes (collectively known as E&P waste). In these comments, our organizations asked DEC to prohibit the disposal of all drilling, exploration, and production wastes at municipal solid waste (MSW), industrial, and construction & demolition (C&D) landfills.
At minimum, NYSDEC should not allow the Hakes C&D landfill—or any other landfill in New York State—to expand in order to accommodate additional oil and gas waste, in particular from high volume hydraulic fracturing operations in Pennsylvania. Due to the potentially hazardous and radioactive characteristics of E&P wastes, we firmly believe that this waste stream is best suited for disposal at hazardous or low-level radioactive waste facilities.
The following comments focus on two key reasons guiding this position, which we have provided to NYSDEC in writing and discussed directly with department staff.