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NJ Senate approves bill to ban fracking waste

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The state Senate approved a measure to ban the disposal of waste from the controversial natural-gas drilling process hydraulic fracturing (otherwise known as fracking) within New Jersey's state borders.

Senate Bill 678, which was approved by a 31-5 vote, calls for banning the “treatment, discharge, disposal, application to a roadway, or other release into the environment of wastewater or by-products from hydraulic fracturing” within the state.

The measure and its subsequent Senate approval garnered widespread support from environmental advocacy groups, who said New Jersey would be the second state to ban fracking wastewater.

“Banning fracking waste will protect our water, and send a message that New Jersey is not a dumping ground for the dirty fracking industry,” Food and Water Watch Policy Advocate Lena Smith said in a statement. “Now it’s time for the Assembly to move this bill, and get it to [Gov. Phil] Murphy’s desk.”

The liquid deployed contains sand, water and chemical components such as gels. Its use has fallen under criticism from environmentalists because of environmental effects, groundwater contamination, public health concerns and insufficient hazardous waste disposal.

Food & Water Watch, in an additional statement, said that the measure comes at a time where the Delaware River Basin Commission is considering a vote allowing disposal of fracking by-products in the basin, which encompasses New Jersey, New York. Delaware and Pennsylvania.

“Passing this law will only help to strengthen the rules and enact a complete ban on fracking in the Delaware River Basin,” Smith added.

“The waste generated by out-of-state fracking has no place in New Jersey waterways or in our soil,“ Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, D-37th District, said in a statement. “Our environment cannot sustain the additional pollution, nor can we expect our residents to take on the additional health costs this kind of dumping would generate.”

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Daniel J. Munoz

Daniel J. Munoz

Daniel Munoz covers politics and state government for NJBIZ. You can contact him at dmunoz@njbiz.com.

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