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Ban Fracking in New Jersey NOW!

Date : Fri, 10 Feb 2012 11:20:11 -0500

/For Immediate Release/
February 9, 2012 Contact Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100

*Ban Fracking in New Jersey NOW!*

// Today the Senate Environment Committee took a critical step in protecting New Jersey's drinking water from the dangerous impacts of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, by releasing a bill that would ban the practice across the state.Fracking is a form of natural gas extraction that requires the use of toxic chemicals, significant quantities of water and has been shown by the EPA to pollute groundwater sources.The Legislature passed this legislation last year with a bipartisan majority but it was conditionally vetoed by Governor Christie to a weak one year moratorium.By taking up the fracking ban bill a second time, the Legislature is standing with the residents of New Jersey and listening to the substantial public outcry to protect our drinking water.

"We need this ban bill is to protect New Jersey's environment and economy since the Governor and the federal government has not.The future of the Delaware River and New Jersey's drinking water is at stake.We are glad the Legislature is standing up for our water, environment, and economy over special interests," *said Jeff* *Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club.* Banning fracking in New Jersey is critical to protecting our water quality and forest ecosystems from industrial development.The Northwestern portion of the state contains the Utica Shale which is already being developed in Ohio and Ontario.Without a fracking ban bill, this part of our state could be drilled within the next ten years.The Governor's weak one year moratorium does not adequately protect the people of New Jersey from this future development. What is known as the "Halliburton Loophole" in the 2005 federal Energy Policy Act exempts fracking from 7 major environmental laws including the Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and Superfund Act.Loopholes from these protections can 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. Currently drilling is underway in parts of Pennsylvania. It is only a matter of time until drilling for natural gas will be proposed in New Jersey, making it utterly important that New Jersey residents are protected from the dangers of fracking. The statewide ban is an important first step to protecting New Jersey from fracking pollution.The Legislature is also considering a bill, *S253*, to stop drillers from importing their waste water into New Jersey.Drilling companies in Pennsylvania are dumping their fracking sludges and cuttings in our landfills and could export toxic wastewater to our treatment plants, potentially discharging radioactive and carcinogenic compounds into water supply streams and reservoirs.The DEP recognized this toxic waste was coming into our landfills but has issued revised guidelines on gas drill cuttings that would continue to allow this pollution to impact our state.These actions by the DEP underscore the need for the New Jersey Legislature to act now to stop these imports.

"The potential threat from fracking wastewater and waste is real, and it may already be here.That is why we need to make sure we ban fracking in New Jersey and protect us from the importation of waste.We do not want New Jersey to be dumped on whether its fracking in Delaware River Basin or fracking waste," *said Jeff Tittel.* 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 aquifers. Many studies and reports have come out addressing the various environmental and public health problems associated with fracking. Not only does fracking pollute our water, but increasing our dependence on natural gas undermines our clean energy programs.New Jersey is number two in solar in the nation, but if we allow fracking we could undermine our renewable and energy efficiency programs.We will jeopardize green jobs and our clean energy economy if we focus on polluting fossil fuels over renewable energy, as proposed in the Governor's revised Energy Master Plan.

"By passing the ban bill with an overwhelming majority the first time, the Legislature sent a clear message to the Governor and other states that fracking is too dangerous and must not move forward at this time," *said Jeff Tittel.*"We need the Legislature to again stand with the people not the gas industry and pass this landmark legislation a second time."

-- 
Kate Millsaps
Program Assistant
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
609-656-7612
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Received on 2012-02-10 08:20:11

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