Advocates of fracking-waste ban mount NJ campaign
In an effort to override Gov. Chris Christie's veto of the fracking waste bill, a coalition of environmental, community, labor and faith-based groups have launched a campaign that calls on the Legislature to take action.
The bill, which was passed by the Legislature in June, was vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie on August 8. The measure would ban the disposal, treatment and discharge of waste created through the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas.
"This isn't about politics, this is about protecting New Jersey's waterways from toxic waste. We have enough Superfund sites, we have enough pollution and we don't need fracking waste," said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, "In fracking waste, there are more than 700 different toxic chemicals including materials that are radioactive that come up from the ground naturally. Facilities in New Jersey that have received some of this waste in the past are not designed to handle this kind of complex, chemical witches brew."
Without the ban in place, the waste can be disposed of in New Jersey, which will put waterways and public health at risk, according to Tittel.
"Because of all the fracking that's going on across the country, we could become awash in fracking waste. Just think if we had these kinds of chemicals stored when we were hit by storms like Irene or Sandy. It could've washed into people's homes and basements," Tittel said.
Doug O'Malley, director of Environment New Jersey, said in a press release Thursday that we need to keep fracking waste away from New Jersey because it is a threat to public health. "There are no federal standards for fracking waste despite it containing carcinogens and radioactive materials. It's no wonder the gas drillers don't have a solution on how to get rid of their waste. That's why the Legislature needs to stand up to this industry and override this veto."
The bill passed the Senate 32-5-3. In the Assembly it passed 62-16-1. For an override vote, 27 votes are needed in the Senate and 54 votes are needed in the Assembly.