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What is Fracking?Historically fracking is a method of creating fractures below the earth to facilitate extraction of oil and natural gas.
Today hydraulic fracturing or fracking has come to mean in the worst case, the use of huge volumes of water laced with toxic chemicals and sand which is forced under pressure into deep horizontally drilled wells that may extend a mile in length in order to create fractures from which gas or oil may flow.
Energy companies in this region are trying to extract natural gas from Marcellus shale, a geologic formation that extends beneath parts of NY, PA, VA and WV. NJ sits on top of the Utica shale formation which underlies the Marcellus. Drilling to extract gas from the Utica is already planned in OH and PA.
What are the problems?Many including contamination of surface and ground water, air pollution and huge volumes of highly toxic and radioactive wastes that are exempt from hazardous waste regulations and lack appropriate treatment facilities. In 2005 oil and natural gas extraction was exempted from parts of the major federal environmental regulations under what's commonly referred to as the Halliburton loophole. Halliburton is the largest supplier of fracking fluids and extraction services.
What is happening in NJ?The NJ legislature passed a bipartisan ban on fracking in NJ but Gov. Christie instead chose a one year moratorium on drilling in NJ to study the process.
Are we at risk from fracking in neighboring states?Yes. The Delaware River Basin Commission controls the region of the river basin which supplies the drinking water for 3.5 million New Jerseyans, New York City, Philadelphia and in total 15 million people. The Commission made up of representatives of the Governors of DE, NJ, NY and PA and the Army Corp of Engineers have already proposed loose rules that would permit fracking in our drinking water. A vote on these rules was postponed from last November but could occur at any time.
NJ is at risk from other negative impacts of drilling such as air pollution and drinking waste handling.
Fracking in New Jesrsey - Time Line
Our NJ legislator with overwhelming bipartisan support passed a ban on fracking in NJ and later a ban on fracking waste; both of which were vetoed by Governor Christie. The one year NJ Fracking moratorium has expired. More information and more information.
The Delaware River Basin Commission which consists of the Governor's of NJ, NY, Pa, and Del. plus the President's representative-Army Corps of Engineers, has prepared regulations to allow fracking in the Delaware River Basin. These regulations have been held in abeyance for sometime now, but may resurrect the issue at a moments notice. more information
Continued development of Marcellus Shale, conversion of coal to NG power plants, Northeast residential NG market, and potential LNG export facilities off the coast of New England and Maryland place contribute to NJ expanding pipeline infrastructure. more information
This is particularly worrisome because NJ residents have strongly supported clean energy initiatives.
New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
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Page URL: http://NewJersey.SierraClub.org/Staff/Fracking/index.asp
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