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Environmental Groups Want Override On Christie’s Fracking Waste Ban Veto [AUDIO]

Over eighty environmental groups are rallying together to call for New Jersey Legislators to override Governor Christie’s veto of the Fracking Waste Ban Bill.

Spencer Platt, Getty Images

The organizations are issuing an open letter to members of the state Senate and Assembly overturn the Governor’s veto on the bill which would prevent the transportation, treatment, storage, or disposal of waste from Hydraulic Fracturing (aka fracking).

Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver has already agreed to schedule a veto override vote in her chambers. However, now the organization of environmental groups is trying to get Senate President Steve Sweeney on board as well.

In 2012 Governor Christie signed a one year moratorium on natural gas drilling in the state. He vetoed the most recent bill to ban fracking waste, which passed both the Assembly and Senate with bi-partisan support. Christie cited concerns of constitutionality as well as claims that fracking waste isn’t an issue in New Jersey since there are no potentials for fracking operations in the state.

However, Jim Walsh, Regional Director from the Group Food and Water watch says both of those issues aren’t valid, noting an independent review from a non partisan office of legislative services confirmed the bill is in fact constitutionally sound.

Walsh also cites several studies to contradict the governor’s claims that there are no potentials for fracking operations in the state.

Walsh cites a study from the US Geological Survey which identified large natural gas basins that stretch widely through the northern half of the state and contain up to 1.6 trillion cubic feet of gas.

“Despite being only partially assessed it has really tremendous potential for gas development and along with that the potential for a tremendous amount of waste,” says Walsh.

During a conference call Wednesday about the open letter, Walsh also referenced a recent study from Stony Brook University which found the greatest risk of drinking water contamination occurs during the waste water disposal process.

Sierra Club New Jersey Director Jeff Tittel noted the Governor’s decision to enact first the moratorium and then the full veto on a fracking waste bill demonstrates that “the Governor cares more about the big oil and gas companies than he does about the drinking water of New Jersey.”

“The governor in his signing statement said there’s not enough studies to show what the problems are,” says Tittell, and claims the Christie has it backwards.

“If we don’t know, we shouldn’t allow it to be dumped in our waterways.”

Tittel notes that since many Republicans went against the administration to vote for the bill originally, however those legislators will need to vote for it once again.

“It may not be as easy as for them since the governor vetoed it but they need to decide if they stand for clean water and they stand for protecting New Jersey and protecting public health.”

He adds they are concerned the moratorium on drilling in the Delaware Basin may get lifted after the election, and the flood gates could open for drilling and dumping in New Jersey and the surrounding area.

Sister Joan Kerry from the Group Water Spirit, a faith and ecology ministry, says there has been more than enough data presented to the Governor.

“We believe jeopardizing the life giving system of water is not only unsustainable but from a faith a spirituality prospective morally unacceptable.”

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