For Immediate Release
The State House of Representatives voted 147-1 in favor of a bill (SB 753) that would ban waste from oil and gas drilling across the state.
The bill passed the Senate unanimously on May 30.
Food & Water Watch has helped move a grassroots campaign to pass local bans over the past several years, with almost 60 cities and towns passing comprehensive bans on these toxic, radioactive extraction wastes.
The bill has comprehensive definitions for drilling and extraction waste from both oil and gas wells,, and closes loopholes in the previous moratorium on only hydraulic fracturing waste from gas wells. It creates a permanent ban, except for a small amount of waste allowed solely for research purposes. It is modeled after laws passed in seven New York County Legislatures and passed by 56 cities and towns across CT over the past three and a half years.
It also bans leachate from solid wastes, which includes liquids that drain out of landfills that have now become highly radioactive after receiving wastes from oil and gas wells.
“Our legislators have taken sensible action to protect Connecticut residents from an array of health and environmental risks associated with these toxic drilling wastes,” said Food & Water Watch Local Coordinator Jen Siskind. “Other states have experienced serious problems. Waterways and shellfish are now radioactive due to treatment and discharge. Waste spills have seeped into aquifers feeding private drinking water wells. Waste by-products like construction fill has been found to be unstable, while radioactive and lead-contaminated de-icer has been spread on roads. Now Governor Lamont has an opportunity to protect all of Connecticut from this dangerous waste.”
“Having worked to pass a fracking waste ban in Stratford, I’m happy the whole state is now covered,” said State Representative Joe Gresko, Vice chair of the Environment Committee. “The ban now expands to natural gas waste and oil waste, which is stronger than the existing moratorium language.”
Senator Christine Cohen (D), co-chair of the Senate Environment Committee, said: “Fracking, and the waste associated with the same, has long been known to have detrimental, environmental impacts. We must do all we can to ensure resources, such as our drinking water, are not contaminated. This ban will protect Connecticut’s people, environment, and wildlife from the harmful effects of fracking waste, and I’m thrilled to have seen its unanimous passage out of our chamber. It has been a pleasure working with environmental advocates to get this accomplished and I look forward to seeing its signage into law.”
Dr. M Saud Anwar (D), Senator for the 3rd District, added: "I am glad that the Senate has taken the right step in making sure that people, including children in our state, are protected from exposure to carcinogens. I am glad that I initiated the process in my town of South Windsor, when serving as a mayor, and today I am honored to be a part of the effort to expand the protection from my town to the entire state.”
“The idea that Connecticut should receive and process fracking waste is totally absurd! This is one of those famous don't-worry-about-it industry promises that invariably cause great harm once the process is underway,” said Richard Harris, Marine Scientist for Norman Bloom and Son LLC, an oyster farming company. “What we faced as a state is hundreds of trucks on our roads carrying thousands of gallons of poorly identified and randomly tested waste. No matter how "good" the remediation process is, there will be would have been harmful processed liquids entering our waterways and placing our oyster business in jeopardy. Our elected leaders made the right call.”
“This is long overdue. Fracking waste threatens our water, our soil and our public health,” said Lou Burch of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “Now that the Legislature has taken action, we are calling on Governor Lamont to sign this important legislation and ban oil and gas waste in Connecticut once and for all.”
"In Greenwich, we have spent millions of dollars to remediate contamination in our town. We passed a local ban on fracking waste because we don’t want more contamination in new construction fill or in our road treatments,” said Marija Mikolajczak, a co-founder of Greenwich Conservation Advocates, a citizen action group focused on local water conservation. “There is no reason to allow out-of-state drilling waste or byproducts to be imported into Connecticut. We look forward to Governor Lamont signing this bill so the protection of our local ordinances will be expanded to the entire state.”
"Fracking is creating a huge amount wastes and byproducts that, in other states, are being inadequately tested, treated and disposed. We thank our Legislators for passing this bill, and ask Governor Lamont to move quickly to protect our residents and our natural resources from dangerous fracking waste," said Samantha Dynowski, State Director, Sierra Club Connecticut.
Louise Washer, President, Norwalk River Watershed Association said, “In our work to help pass local ordinances in our watershed towns of Redding, Weston, Norwalk, and Ridgefield, hundreds of supporters crowded into meetings and came out to vote on this issue in each town. The residents of this watershed and other cities and towns have spoken loudly and clearly in favor of a comprehensive ban on these toxic substances. The Norwalk River Watershed Association commends the state legislature for listening to the people of CT and acting to protect our rivers and Long Island Sound from the toxic, radioactive wastes resulting from fracking in neighboring states. We are glad to see Connecticut leading the way on this crucial issue.”
“I am a lawyer and town legislator, and I volunteered to analyze the local fracking waste ban proposed to our town meeting in Greenwich. What I learned through my extensive, independent research shocked me: fracking waste is almost wholly unregulated and is frequently radioactive; safe disposal is costly and difficult, and the industry is not profitable enough to undertake safe disposal,” said Allison Walsh, Greenwich RTM member. “The industry therefore has strong financial incentives to move this waste anywhere it can, under cover of darkness, in the form of road salt, de-icing liquid and landfill, and it has in fact put radioactive fracking waste in products that any of us might be able to buy, and in landfills where it was not permitted. I am absolutely convinced that this ban is necessary and the right thing to keep Connecticut’s water, air and land, and our health, safe.”
Eastern CT Green Action Directors Lois Happe and Peter Millman released the following statement: “Like fracking itself, the liquid and solid waste it generates contributes to the degradation of our environment. Connecticut should not, and now will not, help the natural gas industry solve its problem of how to dispose of the by-products from a process that sends tons of methane into the atmosphere and destroys public water supplies. Recognizing the negative impact of fracking waste, more than 23 towns east of the Connecticut River have already protected themselves by banning all such wastes from their borders. With the adoption of this state-wide ban, Connecticut has taken a significant step to protect all its citizens.”
"The Collaborative Center for Justice, sponsored by six congregations of Women Religious in Connecticut, has been advocating for years for the passage of a statewide ban on fracking waste,” said Rachel Lea Scott, Associate Director of CCFJ.” As people of faith, we are deeply concerned about caring for human and ecological health. It’s important that this legislation is passed this year. We are pleased to see that the General Assembly has approved SB 753, and we urge Governor Lamont to act quickly to sign this bill."
“It is terribly important to keep fracking waste out of our state. When some states have allowed it to come in - their river, streams and soils have often been polluted with the chemicals and radioactive materials that are part of the fracking waste. Environment and Human Health, Inc. congratulates the CT legislators for their wise stewardship of our wonderful state.” said Nancy Alderman, President, Environment and Human Health, Inc.
"Fracking waste contains toxic chemicals like arsenic, benzene, radioactive Radium-226, and many other carcinogens. Connecticut cannot be in the business of taking this dangerous substance at the risk of our public health. Thankfully, our environmental champions in the General Assembly took action by passing a statewide ban on fracking waste,” said Amanda Schoen, Deputy Director of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters.