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Broad Coalition Calls for Override of Fracking Waste Ban Bill 6 Months after Gov.’s Veto

Date : Thu, 11 Apr 2013 11:45:32 -0400

Ban Bill 6 Months after Gov.’s Veto

For Immediate Release
March 21, 2013 Contact:Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club, 609-558-9100 Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, 215-692-2329

*Broad Coalition Calls for Override of Fracking Waste Ban Bill 6 Months after Gov.’s Veto*

Trenton, NJ - Environmental, community, labor and faith-based groups from around the state gathered for a Lobby Day in Trenton six months after Governor Christie vetoed the fracking waste ban bill.Groups urged legislators in the Assembly to hold an override vote to get protections against fracking waste in place as soon as possible.The Governor vetoed the bill A575 in September, leaving New Jersey vulnerable to the disposal of toxic fracking waste.This bill can protect our drinking water and environment from industry waste that can contain over 700 chemicals and radioactive materials.Companies in New Jersey have already accepted wastewater, drill cuttings, and sludges in the past.The bill passed the Assembly with overwhelming bipartisan support last year and at Lobby Day residents appealed to these legislators to support the bill a second time in an override vote.

"New Jersey has enough pollution in its waterways and too many toxic waste sites already.As long as we do not have a ban on fracking waste in New Jersey our waterways are held hostage by Big Gas companies.That is why we are here today on Lobby Day demanding a ban on fracking waste and an override of the Governor’s veto," *said Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club*. The legislation has broad and active support from a variety of organizations across the state, including labor, sportsmen groups, public health advocates, and faith-based organizations.This coalition of organizations has engaged thousands of residents on this issue, resulting in thousands of letters to legislators’ offices demanding a ban.The Coalition also held a series of rallies across the state outside of legislative offices urging our representatives to stand up for clean water and override Governor Christie’s veto. Now on the six month anniversary of the Governor’s veto, concerned citizens are joining together in Trenton to get these protections from fracking waste in place.

"Frack Waste is so highly toxic, complex and variable that we don’t even have the treatment facilities to safely handle it here in New Jersey. Gas well fracking produces radioactive waste that has already been found to violate at least one New Jersey facility’s permit that accepted it. The New Jersey Legislature has tried to stop this by banning it in New Jersey now we are calling on them to override Governor Christie’s veto of the Frack Waste Ban to protect our drinking water and communities," said Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network. During Hurricane Sandy, over 20% of our state’s water treatment facilities failed, resulting in raw sewage and other dangerous materials being discharged directly in our waterways.If we allow fracking waste to be dumped in New Jersey that waste could also potentially reach our waterways in such a weather event.The Passaic Valley Plant alone spilled over 2 billion gallons of raw sewage into Newark bay. Other plants in Sayreville, Hoboken, and Union Beach also discharged sewage in the aftermath of the storm, resulting in between 400 to 500 million gallons being discharged everyday across the state. Stormwater can also flood the pipes entering treatment plants causing combined sewer overflows with sewerage entering waterways like in Hoboken. Adding fracking waste to this mix would add more toxics to this type of polluting discharge.

"Superstorm Sandy reminded us just how vulnerable we are. We simply cannot and should not expose NJ residents and workers to the unnecessary risks involved in the transporting, treatment, disposal, or storage of contaminated wasted from fracking. That's why we implore our legislators to override the Governor's veto," *said Carol Gay, President, NJ State Industrial Union Council*. 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 wastewater.Millions of gallons of wastewater and tons of solids are produced at the thousands of wells being drilled in nearby Pennsylvania.Fracking waste contains hundreds of chemicals, many of them known carcinogens and health hazards.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.The waste also contains harmful naturally occurring contaminants released by the fracking process and brought back to the surface from deep underground, including radioactive materials.Fracking waste has already come into New Jersey from Pennsylvania gas wells.In the past the DuPont plant in Deepwater accepted partially treated fracking wastewater.The Clean Earth facilities in Kearny and Carteret have accepted fracking drill cuttings at their solid waste facilities.LORCO Petroleum Services in Elizabeth accepted over 105,000 gallons of drilling fluids produced during fracking. The NJ Department of Environmental Protection recently revised guidelines on this type of waste but has not prohibited its disposal in New Jersey.The public does not know if fracking waste is being disposed of today because public reporting requirements are inadequate.

"Science and Mother Nature are telling us and showing us we are now living in a climate crisis that has reached emergency levels here in New Jersey, in the US and around the world. As mothers and community representatives we are looking to and demanding that our legislators support policies and programs that lower greenhouse gas emissions, support clean, renewable energy and create a sustainable future for our children, beginning now. This means standing strong on the bi-partisan decision to ban the treatment, transport and storage of dangerous and toxic fracking waste in our state and moving us away from extreme forms of fossil fuel extraction which create dirty energy and hazardous bi-products, which we neither need nor want," said *Harriet Shugarman, Executive Director, ClimateMama, & NJ Representative for The Mothers Project.* New Jersey’s wastewater treatment facilities are not designed to handle the toxins found in fracking wastewater and cannot remove all the toxics before discharging the waste into our waterways.This could potentially lead to the discharge of dangerously high levels of harmful pollutants, including radioactive materials, into waterways and groundwater, and, in turn, into our drinking water.The New York Times found in 2011 wastewater was sent to treatment plants in Pennsylvania that could not handle the waste properly, resulting in the discharge of partially treated waste into waterways at 12 plants[1] <#_ftn1>. 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 and around the state.There could be accidental spills as fracking waste is being trucked to treatment plants and landfills harming local communities, water bodies and groundwater. The Fracking Waste Ban Bill passed the Assembly 56-19 and the Senate 30-5.For an override vote 27 votes are needed in the Senate and 54 votes are needed in the Assembly. The Lobby Day is sponsored by the NJ Sierra Club, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Water Spirit, North Jersey Public Policy Network, Climate Mama, NJ State Industrial Union Council, Mothers for Sustainable Energy, the League of Women Voters, the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of NJ, the Franciscan Response to Fracking, Environment New Jersey, Food and Water Watch, and New Jersey Environmental Federation.

"Water is life. Living in the reality of the present global fresh water crisis and a climate change emergency, the last thing our government officials should be supporting is an energy source and drilling process that consumes enormous amounts of fresh water that is poisoned with toxic chemicals, a drilling process which produces toxic radioactive waste that is extremely difficult to process safely, and a drilling process that releases large amounts of methane gas that actually accelerates climate change. Enough is enough. Vote for the public interest, health and safety of NJ residents. Vote for clean safe water and sustainable renewable energy sources; vote to override the Governor's veto of the Fracking Waste Ban Bill," *said Sr. Suzanne Golas, csjp, Director, WATERSPIRIT*.


[1] <#_ftnref1> Urbina, Ian. "Regulation lax as gas gas wells’ tainted water hits rivers." New York Times. February 26, 2011

Kate Millsaps
Conservation Program Coordinator
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
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