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Fracking Override: Legislature Needs to Stand Up to Christie & Stand for Clean Water

Date : Thu, 27 Sep 2012 11:11:37 -0400

Christie & Stand for Clean Water

For Immediate Release
September 24, 2012 Contact:Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club, 609-558-9100

*Fracking Override: Legislature Needs to Stand Up to Christie & Stand for Clean Water*

Today the Sierra Club joined organizations from all across the state to call on Legislators to stand up for clean water and override Governor Christie's veto of the fracking waste ban bill.The Governor vetoed the bill on Friday, which would bar the disposal of fracking waste in our state.This bill can protect our drinking water and environment from industry waste that can contain over 700 chemicals and radioactive materials.This bill is imperative for protecting our water supply since companies here have already been accepting wastewater, drill cuttings, and sludges.The Legislature passed the bill with strong, bipartisan support and we are calling on them to stand up for our clean water and override the Governor's veto.

"We need the Legislature to do the right thing and override the Governor's veto to protect our drinking water from fracking.They cannot follow the poor example of the Governor and put fossil fuel interests before our water supply.We need the Senate President and Speaker to post this bill.We need the Republicans who care about clean water to vote for the override.We know it is tough to stand up to this Governor but they need to do it to protect the drinking water for New Jersey," *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.

"Since the Governor could not stand up for the people of New Jersey, we need the Legislature to protect our waterways instead by overriding the veto.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.

"Unless the Legislature overrides this veto, New Jersey will become a dumping ground for even more fracking waste.Thousands of truck with loads of toxic chemicals could be going through our communities and our treatment plants could be 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.

"It is outrageous that Governor Christie, instead of protecting the people of New Jersey, has violated his oath of office in vetoing this bill because he is standing with Big Oil and Gas against the people of New Jersey.Now we need the Legislature to stand up to the Governor and override his veto to protect our waterways from this pollution," *Tittel stated.*

Kate Millsaps
Conservation Program Coordinator
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
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