New Jersey lawmakers approved a bill than bans the disposal or storage of fracking waste in the state, though Governor Chris Christie had rejected a similar proposal. The Senators voted 33-4 yesterday to endorse a bill that bans treatment, disposal, storage or discharge of any solids, wastewater, sludge and other by-products associated with fracking.
Fracking, a common term for hydraulic fracturing, is a oil and natural gas extraction method that involves pumping a mixture of chemicals, water and sand deep into the underground shale rocks at high pressure to release the fossil fuels. Environmentalists argue that fracking waste is cancerous, radioactive and very toxic.
While there is no visible fracking activity in New Jersey, lawmakers feared that the state’s relative proximity to Midwestern and Pennsylvania states makes it a clear target for storage and disposal of fracking waste.
Energy industry lobbyists have argued that the ban is unnecessary and that hydraulic fracturing has proved a boon to the country’s energy security and economy.
This is the second time state legislators have approved a measure that seeks to ban disposal, treatment or storage of fracking waste. The first one was vetoed by Gov. Christie in June 2012, arguing it was against the interstate commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Environmentalists welcomed the Senate’s move and urged the Assembly to take a cue from the upper house. So far, the Assembly is yet to vote on the matter, which is still at the committee stage.
“Dumping fracking waste in New Jersey waterways is still legal, and that’s why today’s bipartisan Senate majority to ban fracking waste is so needed,” Doug O’Malley, a director of Environment New Jersey, was quoted by Burlington County Times. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.
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