NORWALK — Norwalk has received the “Climate Champion Award” for having passed an ordinance aimed at keeping fracking waste outside city limits.
The city was presented the award by Live Green, The Discovery Museum and Planetarium, and Greater New Haven Clean Cities Coalition, which held the Regional Conference for Sustainable Development at the museum in Bridgeport on June 5.
“It was really nice to find out that Norwalk received the award for passing the ordinance, and we’re definitely happy to join 45 other (Connecticut) municipalities in passing a fracking-waste ban ordinance,” said Norwalk Councilwoman Eloisa Melendez, a District A Democrat who chairs the council’s Ordinance Committee, before summarizing local support for the ban. “From the very first meeting, the room was packed.”
On May 22, the full council passed the new ordinance “Prohibiting Natural Gas Waste and Oil Waste from Natural Gas Extraction Activities within the City of Norwalk.” The ordinance is intended to discourage the transport or storage of fracking waste in Norwalk.
Fracking is a practice where water is forced deep into the ground to create cracks, releasing natural gas and oil. The water is mixed with chemicals that aid the process and can be exposed to radioactive deposits occurring naturally in the earth. Contaminated waste is a byproduct of the process.
Mayor Harry Rilling announced the award recognizing Norwalk’s effort to keep such waste at bay during Tuesday evening’s Common Council meeting. He and others counted the award as an example of ongoing efforts by the city and Board of Education to make Norwalk more environmentally friendly.
“Norwalk does want to be a green community and everything that we can possibly do to add to that, to do the things we need to do, to save energy, use more sustainable energy and reduce our carbon footprint is always something that’s desirable,” Rilling said. “I want to thank the council, too, because you’re a part of this, you’re a part of this process, and I think we’re making leaps and bounds that we probably haven’t seen in the city of Norwalk ever before.”
He credited Norwalk Building and Facilities Manager Alan Lo and Norwalk Public Schools Director of Facilities and Management Director Williams Hodel for spearheading many energy-saving initiatives.
One such initiave got unanimous support Tuesday evening to move forward.