Trenton, N.J. (Aug. 8) – The Frack Waste Ban Bill (S1041) was passed by New Jersey’s legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support, then it landed on the desk of Governor Chris Christie for his approval. Unfortunately for residents of the state, our drinking water, and the environment the governor vetoed the bill.
The bill prohibits the discharge, disposal, processing, storage, or application to a roadway in the State of waste from the process of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, for natural gas. The dumping ban bill was passed by the Legislature, at the urging of people and organizations from all walks of life and from throughout the State, in a hard-fought battle to protect the state’s drinking water supplies and communities from the radioactive elements, heavy metals, and carcinogens in frack waste.
“Governor Christie proved today that he couldn’t care less about the health and safety of New Jersey families,” said Jim Walsh, New Jersey director at Food & Water Watch, an advocacy group. “Fracking waste is highly toxic and radioactive, and it has no place in our communities. Since Governor Christie doesn’t have the guts to stand up to a polluting industry and protect our state from this hazard, our legislature must do so immediately.”
“Governor Christie has sold out our drinking water to the fossil fuel industry. Instead of protecting our waterways he is allowing companies to dump toxic fracking pollution in our waterways. We already have enough pollution in our waterways, we don’t need any more from fracking wastewater. We do not need waste haulers dumping in New Jersey. We now need the Legislature to do the right thing and override this veto to stop a potential fracking disaster,” said Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club.
“The Governor has just opened the floodgates of pollution by refusing to protect us from toxic and radioactive frack waste. We know the Frack Waste Ban Bill conforms with the law because it bans all frack waste, no matter the state of origin, and we know we need the ban because waste has already been dumped here. We call on our Legislators to be the heroes we need today to override the veto and insist of clean water and healthy communities here in New Jersey,” said Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network.
“Governor Christie just vetoed clean water. Fortunately a majority (24) Republican legislators and virtually all the Democrats voted to ban more dumping even after they knew that position was at odds with the Governor’s. We look forward to the override with legislators showing they’re every bit the trusted leaders the Governor is not,” said Dave Pringle, Campaign Manager, Clean Water Action, New Jersey.
“We are disappointed that the Governor has chosen to put polluters before the people of this state by allowing toxic fracking waste into our water,” said Kerry Butch, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. “The health of our residents is too important to jeopardize so we will continue to work with the legislature toward an override.”
“Gov. Christie’s veto doubles down on his same mistake from two years ago,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. “Fracking waste is a clear and present danger to our waterways, and the Legislature should act to overturn Gov. Christie’s ill-considered veto.”
Frack waste produced by Marcellus Shale gas drilling in Pennsylvania has already been accepted by facilities in New Jersey; one facility received waste so radioactive it violated their permits. The need for a ban has intensified in recent months as frack waste disposal options have been reduced due to the shutdown of injection wells in Ohio and controversy over the radioactivity of drilling wastes being sent to West Virginia landfills.
The law does not discriminate between in-state and out of state waste, making it legal under federal commerce laws. New Jersey’s non-partisan legislative arm, the Office of Legislative Services, agreed it conforms. See the Memo here. Frack waste could also be produced by gas drilling in the state since New Jersey contains Utica shale and other gas bearing formations in northern New Jersey.
Contact: Seth Gladstone – sgladstone[at]fwwatch[dot]org, 718.943.8063