Environmental Groups Campaign To Overturn Veto Of Fracking Waste Ban

STATE — Environmental and community groups are hosting a bus tour and staging rallies outside five legislative offices in Ocean and Monmouth counties today to build support for an override vote on the fracking waste ban bill.

Lawmakers approved legislation to prevent New Jersey businesses from treating waste produced from “fracking,” a process of extracting natural gas deposits by pumping a mixture of water, sand and chemicals deep underground. However, Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the bill in September because of concerns that it violated the Interstate Commerce Clause of the Constitution, even though the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services found no constitutional issues with the legislation.

“We are taking this bus tour because we need to get the New Jersey legislature moving on banning fracking waste in the state of New Jersey,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the NJ Sierra Club. “Hurricane Sandy should be an eye-opener about the potential that waste can have on our waterways. We need the Legislature to override the Governor’s veto to protect our drinking water for future generations.”

The bus tour and rallies are being held in front of the offices of legislators that voted “yes” on the bill in the past but have not committed to vote yes again in an override vote, including state Sen. Chris Connors, Assemblyman Brian Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove, state Sen. James Holzapfel, Assemblyman Ronald Dancer, Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon and Assemblywoman Casagrande, and Assemblywoman Amy Handlin. Individual rallies will be held at the offices of Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, Assemblyman David Russo, state Sen. Kevin O’Toole and Assemblyman Scott Rumana, and state Sen. Tom Kean Jr.

“Frack Waste is highly toxic and New Jersey facilities are not equipped to treat this dangerous waste yet fracking companies want to dump it here,” said Tracy Carluccio, deputy director of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network. “One thing we cannot tolerate is more toxics, especially when Hurricane Sandy has shown us how difficult it is to contain pollution and contaminated runoff in a catastrophe.”

“Gov. Christie caved to pressure from the oil and gas industry by vetoing an important public health measure that would ban fracking waste dumping in our state,” said Jim Walsh, regional director for Food & Water Watch. “People from all over New Jersey are rallying today to call on Republican and Democratic legislators to succeed where the Governor has failed by standing up to these special interests and overriding the Governor’s veto,”

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.

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