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Broad Coalition Calls On Legislature to Keep Fracking Waste Out of New Jersey

Date : Thu, 17 May 2012 16:59:24 -0400

Waste Out of New Jersey

For Immediate Release
May14, 2012 Contact:Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club, 609-558-9100 Jim Walsh, Eastern Region Director, Food & Water Watch 732-979-6883

*Broad Coalition Calls On Legislature to Keep Fracking Waste Out of New Jersey*

Today a Coalition of environmental, labor, community and faith-based groups united at the Statehouse to call on Legislators to protect New Jerseyans from dangerous fracking waste.Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a form of natural gas drilling that produces toxic wastewater and drill cuttings.Our state is increasingly being targeted for disposal of this unsafe waste and that is why the organizations came together to urge the Legislature to adopt A575/S253.This bill prohibits the treatment, discharge, disposal, or storage of toxic fracking waste in New Jersey.We already know of two facilities in Elizabeth and Carteret that have accepted fracking waste.This waste is a threat to our public health and our waterways and we need our representatives to take action now.

"As other states such as Pennsylvania run out of places to treat the fracking wastes, we must not allow New Jersey to become the dumping ground of the Mid-Atlantic region," said Assemblywoman Connie Wagner.

"We stand here today with over 60 organizations from across New Jersey who want a stop to the flow of fracking waste that is coming to our state. This unprecedented support for a ban on fracking waste is stems from the serious risks this waste poses to our drinking water, public health and the environment," *said Jim Walsh, New Jersey Director, Food & Water Watch*.

The fracking process creates millions of gallons of wastewater and solids for every new well drilled and each well can be fracked multiple times.Fracking waste contains over 700 hundred chemicals, many of them known carcinogens.Long term exposure to these toxins can cause nervous system, kidney, or liver damage.The gas industry is not required to disclose all the chemicals used in the process, and with these unknown additives it is impossible to know the full threat fracking waste presents.

"New Jersey has enough water pollution, we don't need to bring more in from other states.We need to ban fracking waste in New Jersey if we want to protect our rivers and our land from these chemicals.We already have enough toxic sites and pollution in our waterways, we do not need anymore.Stop dumping on New Jersey," *said Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club.*"Its bad enough that the Delaware River may be threatened by fracking, do we really need to import the waste?" The waste also contains harmful natural contaminants released from deep underground in the fracking process and brought back to the surface, including radioactive materials.Last yearan investigation of Pennsylvania and West Virginia gas wells by the New York Times found that of 240 wells, at least 116 were producing wastewater with radiation levels hundreds of times higher thanthe EPA's drinking water standard.Radioactivity in wastewater from at least 15 wells was thousands of times higher than the EPA standard.Wastewater treatment plants in New Jersey do not have the capability to treat radioactive elements, potentially allowing for this material to be discharged directly into our waterways.

"New Jersey's drinking water and the safety of our communities is in jeopardy from all the waste the gas drilling industry has to get rid of.This waste is so toxic that current treatment plants and landfills are just not designed to safely handle it and the federal government hasn't even figured out yet how to make it safe. The Legislature needs to step in to protect New Jersey by banning all gas drilling and fracking waste here or we'll be turned into a dumping ground," *said Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network*. New Jersey's wastewater treatment facilities are not designed to handle the toxins found in fracking wastewater and cannot remove all the chemicals before discharging the waste into our waterways.This could potentially lead to the discharge of dangerously high levels of harmful pollutants into our rivers, groundwater, estuaries, and bays.

"New Jersey Friends of Clearwater objects to the practice of treating fracking wastewater and discharging it into our New Jersey waters. It is a public health issue for the people of New Jersey. Once these toxins are in our waterways and our groundwater it's too late, it's done. If someone added unnamed and/or toxic chemicals to your meal at a restaurant would you eat it? We have to protect our drinking water," said Joellen Lundy, President, New Jersey Friends of Clearwater.

The high levels of bromide found in fracking waste also pose a threat to our water treatment facilities.If bromides are exposed to organic material during the disinfection stage at wastewater treatment plants, they can potentially create a carcinogenic compound called brominated trihalomethanes (THM).THM is costly and difficult to remove from the water supply.The high levels or bromides would also corrode important infrastructure and industrial equipment that taxpayers money would be used to fix.The impacts to water pipelines alone will be significant as fracking wastewater is five to ten times saltier than sea water.

"Fracking -- and the toxic wastewater it creates -- should not be allowed anywhere near New Jersey's drinking water sources," *said Doug O'Malley of Environment New Jersey*. "This is not an imagined threat -- fracking waste is being processed in New Jersey right now. We need the Legislature to stop this trickle from turning into a flood of wastewater in our rivers. Fracking waste is exempted from critical federal protections regulating the disposal of hazardous waste and hazardous materials.This free pass from important standards increases the risks to public health and the environment. There are also safety concerns with the transportation of the waste into the state.There could be accidental spills as fracking wastewater is being trucked to treatment plants with impacts to local communities, water bodies and groundwater. The Clean Earth facilities in Kearny and Carteret are currently accepting fracking drill cuttings at their landfills.LORCO Petroleum Services in Elizabeth has accepted over 105,000 gallons of drilling fluids produced during fracking.The DEP recently revised guidelines on this type of waste but is still allowing it to be disposed of in New Jersey. The Office of Legislative Services released a memo earlier this year finding that banning the disposal of fracking waste does not violate the Interstate Commerce Clause.New Jersey would be banning the disposal of all fracking waste within the state, no matter where it originates.

"Accepting fracking waste in New Jersey, is an act of disregard for the inherent worth and dignity of those who become ill from exposure to these toxic substances. The Halliburton loophole allows the gas and oil industries to get away with acts that would be considered criminal, if any other person or industry were doing these things.If New Jersey accepts fracking waste, then New Jersey becomes the "Enabler" of this immoral activity.We must refuse fracked waste here to prevent the gas companies from increasing their toxic production," *said Margaret Wood, Member of the Board, Lakeland Unitarian Universalist Fellowship*.

"As a mother raising two children in New Jersey I am doing what I can to keep my children's world safe as they grow to adulthood. Some things are pretty much out of my control, like the air they breathe and the water they drink, but I trust that those who have control over this - like my Governor and state assembly and senate representatives - are doing their part to ensure the safety of my children. Speaking on behalf of my children, other parents and their children, we are putting our trust in the good conscience and understanding of our representatives; as neither we nor they know what chemicals are in fracking fluid, so therefore it cannot be safely treated. I ask that my state representatives stand up to pressures from industry, support the current bans before them, and encourage the industry and companies creating these toxic waste fluids to figure out what to do with them. In the meantime I ask that my state representatives do the job they were elected to do, and keep my children and the water they drink, safe!" said Harriet Shugarman, Executive Director, ClimateMama.

"NO Gas Pipeline supports banning fracking waste in New Jersey wherever it originates as it is this spinoff from fracking that destroys lives with both known and unknown deadly carcinogens," *said Dale Hardman, President, NO Gas Pipeline*.

"The facts are in and they are clear. We don't currently know what is in fracking waste fluid so this fluid clearly can't be properly treated, disposed of or stored. Industry wants our government to accept this waste in New Jersey and THEN figure out what to do with it. We are asking our government leaders to stand strong and support the current bans (A575/5253) that are before our Assembly and Senate and ask industry to figure out how to clean up their own mess!" *said Rhoda Schermer, Chair, North Jersey Public Policy Network*.

"We're not against companies making a profit in principle. However, when profit is the only concern and human and ecological health are at risk, from a spiritual and moral context that is unacceptable," *said Rev. Bob Moore, Executive Director of Coalition for Peace Action*.

"Downstream, our bays, estuaries, and oceans are at risk," *said Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action.* "These toxic chemicals cannot be treated, they will not be tracked, and they pose an significant danger to the ecosystem health. New Jersey should not give industry a 'get out jail-free card' by allowing industry to dump their toxic waste on us, " she added.

-- 
Kate Millsaps
Program Assistant
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
609-656-7612
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Received on 2012-05-17 13:59:24

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