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Politics May Have Trumped Fracking
In Water Board Appointment

As a general rule, you would not want to take a shower much less drink flowback or formation water, nor would you want to pour the stuff into a river or stream.
Alicia Laible used her political muscle to get her father appointed
Fracking wastewater can contain massive amounts of salts, toxic metals, and radioactivity. And so the gas companies have a problem: what to do with the stuff.

The Niagara Falls City Council appointed Gary Laible to the Niagara Falls Water Board.

Father of City Democratic Committee Chairwoman Alicia Laible, Gary Laible worked for the Water board for 30 years and is now retired. he was a chemist and a member of the union.

Two other candidates, Dick Palladino, business manager for laborers local 91 and Vincent Grandinetti, brother of the council woman Kristen Grandinetti, were also under consideration.

Vincent Grandinetti is a long time engineer engaged in the treatment of frack waste water.

Alicia Laible helped manage and fund the 2013 campaigns of three of the council members who voted for her father. They are: Andrew Touma, Kristen Grandinetti and Charles Walker.

According to Niagara Falls Water Board Executive Director, Paul Drof, the Niagara Falls treatment plant on Buffalo Avenue could treat fracking above standards set by the EPA and meet DEC standards. A city ordinance banning the treatment of frack wastewater was passed by the council in 2012, but can be undone by three council members voting to change it.

Niagara Falls Mayor Dyster has spoken against New York State approving fracking, but seems in support of fracking wastewater for treatment in this city.

When the USA Niagara Chamber of Commerce asked Dyster, "Would you support the treatment of hydro-fracturing waste water at the Niagara Falls Water treatment plant," Dyster said he would form "a Mayor's Advisory Task Force to help the city develop appropriate legislative, legal or policy responses so that we are prepared to protect the public's health, and the water quality of the Niagara River (when fracking water is treated here)."

The council's selection of Laible over Vincent Grandinetti means that an ardent pro fracker was not chosen for the Water Board.

In the meantime, New York City Mayor de Blasio is jumping forcefully into the debate over fracking on upstate lands — calling it a danger to the city's water supply.

Asked Thursday for his view of the drilling practice, also known as hydraulic fracturing, Bill de Blasio said recently "The one thing I am firm about is that I don't see any place for fracking. The science simply isn't reliable enough. The technology isn't reliable enough. And, there's too much danger to our water supply, to our environment in general."

Mayor Dyster said "Everybody knows New York is trying to figure out what to do about hydro-fracking. And everybody knows that Niagara Falls, just from a technical standpoint, would be the candidate treatment facility for fracking water, if you decided to go that direction."

Since Gary Laible may cast the deciding vote on fracking at the Water Board, it will be interesting to watch what direction the Water Board, the new Council Majority and the Mayor take on this game changing and perhaps life changing issue.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

Feb 04, 2014