Fracking Waste Ban: NIMBY- Update!


****UPDATE: On Monday, June 24th, although it was on the NJ Assembly list of bills to be voted on, sponsors of A575, the Bill that bans the disposal, discharge, storage and treatment of fracking waste in New Jersey, did not call the bill for a vote. Legislators felt they no longer had commitments needed from Republican Assembly persons who had voted for the bill’s passage last year to override Governor Christie’s veto of this important piece of legislation. Stay tuned, the battle continues. We continue to feel that Governor Christie was wrongly advised and will work with other Climate Mamas and Papas in New Jersey to reach him and discuss this non-partisan and non-political issue with him. Watch this video that was made on Rally day, June 20th at the NJ Statehouse. Stay inspired. We continue to fight for what is right for our children’s health and their future.

Radioactive, toxic waste..coming your way…Fracking fluid from fracked gas wells is already pumped and very probably loaded on a truck, ready and waiting to be sent to your town or county for “treatment.” As we have discussed before at ClimateMama, there is NO safe way to treat fracking waste which can be toxic, radioactive and most definitely hazardous to your health. Treatment facilities have documented contaminants found in fracking waste to include: Barium, Strontium, Napthalene, and 1,2,4 Trimthylbenzene, as well as radioactive materials like Radium 226 and 228, to name a few….

As this waste falls within a federal government loophole and isn’t technically classified as “hazardous” it can be “treated” in your town’s water treatment facility, stored in your local landfill, in an open “pit” near your local community park, or home – even though we know it is a serious health hazard to you, your family, our local farms, animals, environment and a real and serious potential cost to our economy. While the federal government looks to “sort this out” and more and more time passes, state, county and local governments are regularly passing laws of their own to protect their citizens from these real and present health hazards.

If you live in any one of 33 states, Class II deep injection wells are also a possibility for fracking waste. Ohio, Texas, Oklahoma and California have been the locations of most fracking waste injections wells to date, but legally almost any state can have them. As we allow more and more fracking, which produces more and more waste, the pressure grows for ways to “treat this waste.” Out of sight out of mind seems to be the accepted practice, with caution, oversight and safety too often thrown to the wind.

Photo Center: Assembly Women Connie Wagner, one of the 2012 NJ Bill Sponsors

In 2012, the New Jersey Legislature passed a bi-partisan ban on the disposal and treatment of fracking waste in New Jersey. In September 2012, New Jersey Governor Christie vetoed this ban. In support of those legislators that are looking out for New Jersey residents and are calling for an override of the Governor’s veto, we at Climate Mama prepared the following comments for a New Jersey statewide press conference on June 17th:

Many New Jersey families are just realizing the “bullet” that was dodged last year when the legislature passed a ban on the treatment and disposal of radioactive and hazardous fracking waste in New Jersey is now heading directly for us and our families. It seems incredulous to all that this common sense protection needs to be re-confirmed. With New Jersey elections only a few months away, New Jersey families are expecting and demanding that our representatives, elected to look out for and protect our health and welfare, do their JOB. Our Garden State is NOT a dumping ground for hazardous, radioactive fracking waste.

The Governor was ill advised to veto this common sense bi-partisan ban. We are watching as counties in New York wisely pass legislation to protect their citizens and ban fracking waste within their borders. We ask our legislators to tell us: “Which New Jersey legislative district will be the first to accept radioactive fracking waste from Pennsylvania into their water or waste treatment facilities? Whose children will be the first to fish, swim or play in a river or stream or on a town recreation field where radioactive fracking waste has been “treated” nearby and then released – threatening our children’s immediate and long term health?

We are watching our legislators closely. We are calling for an over-ride of the Governor’s veto and demanding that our elected officials ensure the protection and safety of our children AND THEIRS by voting in favor of a fracking waste ban when it is called for a vote – again.

According to a 2012 article by ProPublica’s Abraham Justgarten:

There are now more than 150,000 Class 2 wells in 33 states, into which oil and gas drillers have injected at least 10 trillion gallons of fluid. The numbers have increased rapidly in recent years, driven by expanding use of hydraulic fracturing to reach previously inaccessible resources.

ProPublica analyzed records summarizing more than 220,000 well inspections conducted between late 2007 and late 2010, including more than 194,000 for Class 2 wells. We also reviewed federal audits of state oversight programs, interviewed dozens of experts and explored court documents, case files, and the evolution of underground disposal law over the past 30 years.

Our examination shows that, amid growing use of Class 2 wells, fundamental safeguards are sometimes being ignored or circumvented. State and federal regulators often do little to confirm what pollutants go into wells for drilling waste. They rely heavily on an honor system in which companies are supposed to report what they are pumping into the earth, whether their wells are structurally sound, and whether they have violated any rules.

More than 1,000 times in the three-year period examined, operators pumped waste into Class 2 wells at pressure levels they knew could fracture rock and lead to leaks. In at least 140 cases, companies injected waste illegally or without a permit.

Here’s our Climate Mama at a recent rally in her state legislative district, encouraging her legislator to ‘do the right thing,’ and protect his consituents; something we expect and demand that all our local and nationally elected representatives do.

Please share your stories or stories of Climate Mamas and Papas in your neighborhood who are fighting for clean air, clean water water and for the health and welfare of residents in your community!

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