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Anti-Fracking Week of Action: Gov. Christie, Sign Fracking Wastewater Bill

Date : Fri, 21 Sep 2012 10:20:00 -0400

Fracking Wastewater Bill

For Immediate Release
September 20, 2012 Contact:Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club, 609-558-9100

*Anti-Fracking Week of Action: Gov. Christie, Sign Fracking Wastewater Bill *

This week thousands of people across the country are coming together to oppose fracking and its dangerous impacts.Today families, activists, and environmentalists will be joining together in Philadelphia outside a national gas industry conference to protest the lack of regulation on the fracking industry and the threats the practice poses to our health, water, and open spaces.On Saturday community activists across the country will be holding Global Frackdown Day events to highlight the local impacts the fracking boom is creating.As we mark this week of action against dangerous natural gas drilling, Governor Christie needs to stand with the people of New Jersey, not out of state fossil fuel interests.Today the Governor should sign the legislation to ban the disposal of fracking waste in our state.This bill would protect New Jersey's drinking water from toxic industry waste and was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.Over 22,000 state residents have written the Governor, urging him to act now to stop other states from dumping their toxic waste on New Jersey.This bill is imperative for protecting our water supply since companies here have already been accepting wastewater, drill cuttings, and sludges.This waste is a threat to our public health and our waterways and should be banned.

"As thousands of people protest the dangerous and polluting practices of the natural gas industry this week, we need Governor Christie to enact protections to keep fracking waste out of our waterways.The Governor needs to stand with the people of New Jersey, not the fossil fuel industry, and protect our waterways from pollution by signing the fracking waste bill. We already have enough pollution in our waterways, we don't need any more from fracking wastewater. We do not need out of state waste haulers dumping in New Jersey.The Governor needs to stand with the Legislature, elected officials, and people across New Jersey to protect our waterways or he will be taking the side of Big Oil and Gas and polluters," said Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club.

A recent study out of Stony Brook University found that the biggest threat to drinking water supplies from the fracking process came from the disposal of waste water.The DuPont Deepwater facility has accepted fracking wastewater for treatment from PA-based PSC Industrial Services.The waste treated at the plant had been mixed with other partially treated liquid hazardous wastes before coming on-site. There have been other reports of fracking waste entering New Jersey in Elizabeth and Carteret.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 Governor needs to stand up for the people of New Jersey and sign this bill.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," said Jeff Tittel. 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 cannot allow its water supplies to be held captive by multi-national oil and gas companies.We cannot allow special interests to destroy New Jersey's drinking water supplies in order to make a quick buck.It's bad enough that the Delaware River may be threatened by fracking, do we really need to import the waste?," said Tittel. 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.

"We are already seeing New Jersey becoming a dumping ground and if more companies start doing it there will be thousands of truck with loads of toxic chemicals going through our communities and treatment plants spewing toxic wastewater into our waterways," said Jeff. 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. 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.

"Governor Christie has to choose between clean water and protecting the people of New Jersye or Big Oil and Gas and more pollution.He needs to sign this bill to put New Jersey's interests before the polluting fossil fuel industry," Tittel stated.

Kate Millsaps
Conservation Program Coordinator
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
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