For Immediate Release
TRENTON, NJ - The Senate Environment and Energy Committee voted 4-1 to pass S678, a bill that would ban toxic drilling waste from oil and gas fracking.
The bill is championed by a statewide coalition of grassroots activists and environmentalists. If the measure passes the legislature, New Jersey would be only the second state to ban fracking waste (Vermont’s fracking ban includes a prohibition on the storage or treatment of drilling waste).
“The fracking boom in Pennsylvania is producing millions of gallons of toxic wastewater that poses a direct threat to public health and clean drinking water,” said Food & Water Watch Policy Advocate Lena Smith. “The legislature needs to take action to keep this dangerous drilling waste out of our state. Governor Christie stood in our way twice before, but there are no more excuses.”
The state legislature passed bills to ban fracking waste in 2012 and 2014, both of which are vetoed by Governor Christie. Given that Governor Murphy has spoken out about keeping fracking waste out of New Jersey, the prospects for passing the legislation looks much brighter.
“Banning fracking waste is a vital step in protecting the drinking water of millions New Jersey residents. Our drinking water, and the water that irrigates the food we eat, comes from sources like the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer, which in some spots can be found only a few feet underground,” said Rhyan Grech, Policy Advocate at Pinelands Preservation Alliance. “This shallow aquifer is especially susceptible to toxins and pollutants found in fracking waste which, if they made their way into the groundwater, would contaminate the 17 trillion gallon aquifer, causing problems for the people, plants and animals of New Jersey that depend on it.”
“Fracking waste is a threat to New Jersey's residents and ecosystems and their access to clean safe water,” said Sr. Suzanne Golas, csjp, Director, WATERSPIRIT. “Fracking waste cannot be adequately processed and contains toxic and radioactive chemicals and elements. We urge the state legislators to pass the Fracking Waste Ban Bill (S678/A1329) into law to protect New Jersey residents' public health, ecosystems, property values, tourism industry, and the inherent right of all life to clean safe water. We urge legislators and Governor Phil Murphy to act in the public interest of New Jersey residents and ecosystems, not in the interests of the fossil fuel industry.”
“The impacts associated with the disposal of frack waste into waterways, even after ‘treatment,’ are significant and widespread. Moreover, since all water flows downstream our bays and then the ocean will be the cumulative dumping ground for this harmful waste. The federal government’s lack of regulation, and the blatant exemption of fracking and the waste it produces from federal environmental protections, has forced strong action at the state level. Today, the Senate Environment and Energy Committee took an important first step to ensure that these toxic pollutants are never brought into New Jersey. Pennsylvania has committed to fracking; we do not need to commit to processing their waste,” said Peter Blair, Policy Attorney at Clean Ocean Action.