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Governor Christie Vetoes Fracking Waste Bill

We need to ban the disposal of toxic and radioactive fracking waste in New Jersey to protect our public health, drinking water, and environment.

Governor Christie has taken the side of the fossil fuel industry and polluters over New Jersey’s drinking water. 

The Governor vetoed important legislation that would have banned the disposal of fracking waste in our state. This bill would have protected 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. With this veto Governor Christie is opening the flood gates, allowing millions of gallons of toxic waste to be dumped into our waters.

This bill has strong support from the public and the Legislature. Over 23,000 state residents wrote to the Governor in favor of the bill. The Legislature passed the bill with overwhelming bipartisan support and now we need our legislators to stand up for our clean water and override the Governor’s veto. 

The bill is constitutional because it bans the treatment of all fracking waste regardless of where it is produced, in New Jersey or any other state. 

Many noted attorneys, including the non-partisan Office of Legislative Service and environmental lawyers, have reviewed the legislation and all say it is constitutional.

The Commerce Clause has a public health and safety exemption and toxic fracking waste would qualify for that exemption since we do not fully know what is in the waste and how to treat it properly. Governor Christie is hiding behind this claim as cover because he is on the side of corporate polluters. 

If Governor Christie really cared about the Constitution he would have upheld his oath of office to protect the public health and safety for the people of New Jersey and sign the bill.     

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 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 expose our other waterways to fracking 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.  Gas wells in Pennsylvania and West Virginia have been recorded as producing wastewater with radiation levels hundreds of times higher than the EPA’s drinking water standard. 

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. 

With the Governor’s 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.

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. 

We need Senate President Sweeney and Speaker Oliver to post the bill for a vote and Republicans in the legislature that care about clean water to vote for the override and protect our waterways from this pollution.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

George Clark October 07, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Oh, Christie's so honorable, he would never be bought out by big money and it's corrupting powers. he would never be afraid to stand up to big money and it's corrupting power it it was the right thing for "his" people. Yeah, I got a bridge to sell you too. you people are doomed because you sit and watch a fat pompous punchus pilot fly your enviroment's health into the ground. I truly am sick from watching this world go to hell as we all shout "hurray for christie!" or "you go Mitt!" and they are selling our species out. We all deserve the hell we get now. We really do. If we had a brain we'd surround that fat bastard physically and veto him out of ...... office?
George Clark October 07, 2012 at 08:44 PM
do you realize how history, if there is any left, is going to portray the last few generations? My God the shame we all must bare for selling this world for so cheap to so few.
Marina October 07, 2012 at 11:41 PM
We need to get rid of dependence on foreign fuel. Go Christie.
Xavier October 09, 2012 at 05:51 PM
"“By effectively operating embargo on out-of-state Fracking Waste, (the) Assembly Bill would be subject to strict scrutiny by the courts -- a level scrutiny that is a virtual guarantee of its invalidity,” he wrote in his veto message." http://www.governing.com/news/state/sl-christie-vetoes-anti-fracking-bill.html If that's the case why not sign the law and force the courts to overturn it? The only reason this stuff comes from out of state is because there is no fracking going on in NJ right now.
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