Trenton, NJ – The New Jersey State Assembly passed a bill Thursday to ban the dumping of fracking waste water in the state. This follows passage of an earlier state senate bill and now the matter goes to Governor Christie’s office for him to veto it or sign it.
The bipartisan legislation (A2108), which would prohibit gas companies from treating, discharging, disposing and storing waste from fracking within the state, passed the state Assembly with a vote of 62-12-1.
Fracking is a dangerous gas drilling process which produces millions of gallons of toxic waste water. Even though an EPA loophole permits gas companies to not disclose the chemicals used in the process, environmental groups, including Environment New Jersey, claim that the fracking water brine contains benzene, heavy metals and radioactive material.
“New Jersey needs a ban on frack waste and we need it now. This radioactive toxic waste has already been dumped in northern New Jersey communities and the Delaware River. We don’t have the facilities to safely treat this waste and we can’t handle more toxic pollution being dumped here, jeopardizing our drinking water and air,” said Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network
The New Jersey Senate passed a ban on the disposal, treatment and discharge of toxic waste from fracking by a 33-4 vote count earlier this year in May. The New Jersey Assembly vote which squeaked through last week before the June recess is being applauded by environmental activists as a tremendous victory.
Governor Christie vetoed similar legislation which came across his desk in 2012. Christie claimed that because the contaminated water would come from other states, that it would be unconstitutional under the interstate commerce clause. However proponents are hopeful this time around due to an opinion by the state Office of Legislative Serves which finds that this year’s bill passes the constitutional mustard citing that it does not discriminate against any particular state.
Plus, the Senate and the Assembly passed this bill with enough votes which indicates support for an override of a veto by Christie.
The bill could potentially sit on his desk for 45 before Christie decides whether or not to veto it or sign it. In the meantime, activists are encouraging people to contact Governor Christie to call on him to sign the bill into law.
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