Did you know that June 5th is World Environment Day? Established by the United Nations way back in 1972, this is an international day of global awareness to raise attention on the need to take action on the environmental issues that face and threaten us as a society. In New Jersey, in support of World Environment Day and on behalf of our kids, parents are on the move, worried that our children’s drinking water is being threatened, and we want everyone, in particular our legislators, to know about it!
Climate Mama is joining with other parents and concerned citizens and raising the call this World Environment Day by asking moms, dads and citizens from across the state to join us in Trenton, NJ on June 14th, to demand that our legislators do the job they were elected to do, and ensure that New Jersey’s drinking water and watersheds are kept clean and safe from dangers, in particular from new and lurking dangers posed by the dumping of fracking waste fluid in the state, something that is already happening on their watch!
There is a lot of information, discussion and controversy these days in the media, around dinner tables, office water coolers, and even some town baseball and soccer fields on the safety and process of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.” Fracking is a gas drilling technique, which involves the injection of millions of gallons of hydraulic fracturing fluids – a mixture of chemicals, water and sand – into each well to create pressure that cracks open rock underground, releasing natural gas. This process can deplete and contaminate local water, damage the environment and threaten public health.
Something that is not talked about a lot, is what happens to all this fluidwhen it comes back up after being pumped into the ground at high pressure? The industry tells us that some of this fluid is being “recycled and used again” and that we “shouldn’t worry too much” as the “waste material” isn’t dangerous. Really…?? Then why don’t we know what chemicals go into the fracking fluid? In 2005 Congress exempted fracking from requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act, an exemption “affectionately” called the “Halliburton Loophole by some.” Not only don’t we know what goes into this fluid, we also know that in some areas like the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, the fracking process is bringing harmful chemicals to the surface which have been safely ensconced for many, many years, by nature, deep under the ground. Chemicals like radon and radioactive materials are showing up in this fracking waste fluid. These radioactive materials are harmful to humans, and shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near our drinking water or watersheds. It isn’t clear or obvious that existing waste treatment facilities are able to or properly equipped to remove these materials.
Well let me share a few more facts. According to a recent report by the National Resources Defense Council, all currently available options for dealing with contaminated waste water from fracking are inadequate to protect human health and the environment.” In a May 5th article, NRDC states that: “The five most common disposal options for fracking wastewater currently in use are: recycling for additional fracking, treatment and discharge to surface waters, underground injection, storage in open air pits, and spreading on roads for ice or dust control.” And there are not sufficient rules in place to ensure any of them will not harm people or ecosystems.
We know that aquifers are being poisoned, and water supplies are being made undrinkable in locations where fracking is taking place. We also know that very few if any water treatment facilities are equipped to handle this fluid. In Ohio, fracking waste fluid injected and “stored” deep under ground, has been identified by the Ohio government as the cause of earthquakes; what’s next? We need this to stop now!
As demand increases and the pressure get’s turned up to use fracking methods to extract even more gas from shale deposits around the country, we need to ensure that proper safeguards are put in place first! No state, including New Jersey should become a dumping ground for fluid we know can’t properly be treated and which could potentially poison our waterways and threaten our watersheds. This is a problem created by the oil and gas industry that they need to solve, and the solution needs to be transparent and verified as safe by the EPA, in a timely manner, before fracking method can or should be expanded…Bring your kids to Trenton on June 14th, show them how democracy works. Introduce yourself to your legislator, and let your elected officials know that you are watching them and demanding that they do their job and keep our water safe! Join me and other concerned parents in Trenton, NJ on June 14th. It’s time we “Acted Out” together, and stood up to industry. This is NOT nor should it become our PROBLEM. We all agree we need “energy security” in our country. But at what cost? It isn’t clear there is any going back once our water is contaminated.
The issue of fracking waste and what to do with it is a growing concern all around the country. Let’s help New Jersey put this on ALL parent’s radars! See you on June 14th. Call us if you need any help or advice getting there. Sign up for a carpool from your area today!