Monday, September 14, 2015

Frack Waste Fight Continues

The Marcellus Shale formation underlies much of western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and parts of Ohio and NY. This rock formation contains a high concentration of natural gas trapped within the rock, and has become recently viable for extraction using hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”. This process is extremely water and energy intensive, and produces huge amounts of wastewater containing heavy metals, toxic chemicals, and radioactive elements. In essence, fracking waste is virtually untreatable by most every wastewater treatment plant. As treatment plants in Pennsylvania and other fracking intensive states struggle to manage the millions of gallons of fracking waste created in the production of natural gas, some companies have targeted NJ as an option to truck fracking waste for treatment and disposal. Due to loopholes in federal law, and the absence of regulations at the State level, there is no real regulation of fracking waste disposal. In response to this issue, there have been several efforts in Trenton to ban, or at the very least, properly regulate the disposal of fracking waste in NJ. Governor Christie has vetoed a fracking waste ban twice, citing misplaced concerns as to the constitutional viability of such a ban. COA recently testified at the NJ Senate Environment and Energy Committee hearing on a potential fracking waste regulatory framework, in the hopes of encouraging legislators to overturn Governor Christie’s veto of a fracking waste ban. While a regulatory regime for fracking waste is good intentioned, only a ban would protect the health of the public and the environment from this industrial toxic waste.  COA believes that there is no room for fracking waste in NJ. Our environment demands nothing less than a complete ban.

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