Coalition Calls For Veto Override Vote On Fracking Ban Bill

TRENTON – A broad coalition of environmental, community, labor and faith-based groups from around the state are calling on members of the New Jersey Legislature to put in place protections against toxic fracking waste before representatives leave for the summer break. The Legislature passed a bill last year banning the disposal, treatment, and discharge of waste created through the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas. However, Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the bill in September and an override vote is needed to protect New Jersey against this toxic threat.

“The New Jersey legislature got it right when they voted for the fracking waste ban. Now they need to override the Governor’s veto if New Jersey’s communities and natural resources are to be protected from the mess of frack waste. In Pennsylvania, it seems as if every headline about fracking is worse than the last – contaminated private water wells, waste too radioactive for landfills, fracking waste spills, and a DEP too broken to stay on top of any of it. It’s miserable and I know I speak for Pennsylvanians everywhere when I say that misery does not love company when it comes to toxic fracking waste,” said Karen Feridun, Founder, Berks Gas Truth.

The bill, A575, passed the Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support and the groups are calling on those legislators to vote “yes” a second time to protect drinking water. The coalition unveiled a new symbol for the campaign, Oily the Ostrich. Oily will be traveling to key districts asking key legislators not to bury their head in the sand, but to take action now and ban fracking waste

“New Jersey cannot become the dumping ground for frack waste. If the Legislature doesn’t act to prohibit these toxic materials from being discharged here, our waterways and communities are an easy place to put the billions of gallons of waste that shale gas wells are producing and can be expected to continue to generate not only in Pennsylvania but in New Jersey too. As the gas craze continues undeterred, the toxic waste will flow and unless there’s a law to stop it being dumped here, it will find its way into our drinking water and landfills. We ask our legislators to stand up to protect us by prohibiting this waste in New Jersey,” said Fred Stine, Citizen Action Coordinator, Delaware Riverkeeper Network.

“Governor Christie’s silly excuses for vetoing the Fracking Waste Ban Bill prove he has been bought off by the oil and gas industry. Subjecting New Jersey to the toxic fracking leftovers from other states is a public health disaster waiting to happen,” said Jim Walsh, regional director of Food & Water Watch. “Since the governor won’t stand up and protect residents from this danger, we are hopeful that our legislators will, as they did last year.”

The NJ Department of Environmental Protection recently revised guidelines on this type of waste but has not prohibited its disposal in New Jersey. 

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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