On March 5, 2012, the City Council of Niagara Falls, New York, unanimously approved an ordinance banning hydraulic fracturing in Niagara Falls and the storage, transfer, treatment or disposal of water generated from natural gas exploration and production activities in the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

Ironically, the Marcellus Shale does not extend under the City of Niagara Falls.

Therefore, the ban on hydraulic fracturing likely will have little or no impact on natural gas drilling in the area.

However, the Niagara Falls Water Board previously had hoped to increase revenues by treating flowback and produced water generated in the Marcellus Shale region in the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

The City Council also unanimously passed a resolution titled “Dangers of Hydraulic Fracturing in New York State,” which supports a ban on hydraulic fracturing throughout the State of New York.

The resolution will be sent to New York Governor Cuomo for consideration.  The City of Buffalo, New York is expected to approve a similar resolution today.

This article was prepared by Heather M. Corken (hcorken@fulbright.com or 713 651 8386) from Fulbright’s Environmental Law Practice Group and Shale and Hydraulic Fracturing Task Force.