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Legislature Fails to Protect Our Water from Fracking

Date : Tue, 10 Jan 2012 16:14:36 -0500

  For Immediate Release
January 10, 2012 Contact Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100

Legislature Fails to Protect Our Water from Fracking

The Legislature has failed to protect New Jersey's drinking water by not posting the Fracking Ban bill A3653/ S2576, for an override, instead they voted on concurrence with Governor Christie's conditional veto. The Governor's conditionally vetoed changed the permanent ban to a weak one year moratorium that does nothing to protect our water supply from future drilling of natural gas in the Delaware River Basin. By the legislature concurring with the one year moratorium this undercuts getting the ban on fracking in place threatening the drinking water for 3 million New Jersey residents.

"The legislature undercut efforts to ban frakcing in New Jersey by concurring with the Governor's 1 year meaningless moratorium instead of trying to override the veto. By concurring with Governor Christie's conditional veto this will threaten the drinking supply for millions of New Jersey residents and potentially opening up a large area of north western New Jersey for fracking in the future," said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

By outright banning fracking in New Jersey would have ensured cleaner water and protected forested ecosystems throughout the state. The legislature also failed to post the bill banning fracking fluids in New Jersey only adding to the potential dangers to our waterways from fracking. Now our environment and our drinking water are at risk. This potentially opens up the north western part of our state to drilling and the dangers of fracking. We needed the legislature to protect the people of New Jersey, our water supply, and environment. The Governor's weak one year moratorium does not adequately protect the people of New Jersey and our environment from the risks of fracking. What is known as the Halliburton Loophole exempts natural gas drilling from 7 major environmental laws including the Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and Superfund Act. This loophole could threaten our environment and water supply for generations. If fracking comes to New Jersey it could destroy our state's critical water ways, water supply, streams and rivers.

"A one year moratorium is meaningless because gas companies will not even start to explore for gas and oil for years. A one year moratorium is a PR gimmick that does not protect the people of New Jersey instead takes the side of the gas and oil industry," Jeff Tittel.

Currently drilling is underway in parts of Pennsylvania and will begin in the Delaware River Basin when the agency that oversees the region, the Delaware River Basin Commission, votes on draft natural gas regulations. It is only a matter of time until drilling for natural gas will begin in New Jersey making it utterly important that New Jersey residents are protected from the dangers of fracking. Fracking requires mixing millions of gallons of water with toxic chemicals including volatile organic chemicals like benzene, methyl benzene, formaldehyde, and others that are linked to cancer. There is no real regulatory authority to deal with the contaminated ground water that may be left behind, which could get in to streams or the aquifer. Many studies and reports have come out addressing the various environmental and public health problems associated with fracking.

"The legislature will use the fact that they have a 1 year moratorium in place as an excuse not to go forward with stronger legislation this year. They will use this excuse not to go forward with a ban bill because of the weak and meaningless 1 year moratorium," Jeff stated.

Not only does fracking pollute our water, but all that natural gas undermines our clean energy programs. New Jersey is number two in solar, but if we allow fracking we could undermine our efficiency programs and clean energy jobs by instead promoting pipelines through areas like Jersey City and the Highlands.

"We had 1,000 people come to Trenton to rally against fracking. We are going to keep pushing to get a ban billed past this year no matter what politicians may think. This is just the beginning of our efforts to protect New Jersey's waters from fracking," Tittel said.

Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator NJ Sierra Club 145 W. Hanover Street Trenton, NJ 08618 609.656.7612 (f) 609.656.7618 Received on 2012-01-10 13:14:36

New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
tel: 609 656 7612, fax 609 656 7618
or email Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator, at nicole.dallara@sierraclub.org

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