Push Underway to Override Veto of Frack Waste Treatment Ban [AUDIO]
New Jersey environmental groups are pushing to get state lawmakers to override Gov. Chris Christie's veto of a bill that prohibits hydraulic fracturing waste from being treated in New Jersey.
The groups held a teleconference Tuesday to discuss their concerns about the waste, and to make their case to the public and state legislators on why there's a critical need to override the Governor's veto before the State Senate and Assembly leave for summer recess.
According to their press release, three New Jersey facilities have already taken in frack waste from Pennsylvania shale gas wells. They say according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, a Kearney site that accepted the waste, exceeded the limit for Radium-226 and Radium-228 materials that they were allowed to take and was issued a notice of violation.
The groups said another facility in Carteret received frack waste that contained dozens of harmful pollutants as well as radioactive substances that were even higher than that found at the Kearney facility. However, because of a loophole, no routine sampling for radiologicals were required.
Tracy Carluccio of Delaware Riverkeeper Network says New Jersey urgently needs protection from this highly toxic frack waste. "One of the reasons we're calling for the ban now is that there are no standards at the federal level that tells states how to safely treat this stuff and we know that as far as the technology is concerned, it's not there yet. It has not developed facilities that can remove all of the cocktail of pollutants that are in this fracked waste stream."
The groups said Christie vetoed the earlier bill citing that it violated the Constitution.
However, the groups refute that. Jeff Tittel of the New Jersey Sierra Club said New Jersey lost a Supreme Court case on garbage many years ago because the law was too narrow. It banned Philadelphia from dumping garbage in New Jersey but allowed other states, like New York to bring garbage here.
Tittel said in the measure banning the treatment of frack waste, "the constitutional protection is very clear because we're banning all fracking waste, whether its originated in New Jersey or Pennsylvania or Delaware or commingled with waste in Ohio and shipped here and that meets the equal protection clause."
The environmental groups are planning a march and rally at the Statehouse complex on Thursday.
Harriet Shugarman of Climate Mama and the Mother's Project NJ said it's a matter of public health. "We are looking to our elected officials to insure the protection and safety of our children and there's by voting in favor of this common sense fracking waste ban when it is called for a vote."