Standing Up to Fracking Waste: NOT IN MY BACKYARD, OR YOURS!


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Hey Climate Mamas and Papas, we need your voices and your calls on this one. Let your New Jersey friends know and ask them to call their local legislators to ask them to support the bi-partisan fracking waste ban, and an over-ride of the Governor’s veto, when it is posted! New Jersey has an opportunity to join Vermont as one of the only 2 states in the country to ban fracking waste (the poisonous, cancer causing “proprietary chemical cocktail” that flows back out of gas wells).

Currently there is NO safe way to treat this waste. Below is a statement that I wrote and read on November 28th at two of the many, many rallies that took place at New Jersey State Assembly and Senate offices.

As a reminder, the New Jersey Legislature passed, by overwhelming numbers, a bi-partisan bill in both the Senate and the Assembly which would ban the transport, treatment and storage of fracking waste in New Jersey. Governor Christie vetoed this ban and used the following as his argument in support of his veto: “Although the bill is, on its face, neutral in that it seemingly applies to waste from ‘any State,’ the undisputed fact, agreed to by the legislature, that fracking ‘is not occurring and is unlikely to occur in New Jersey,’ demonstrates beyond a doubt that this ostensible evenhandedness is superficial.” Unclear how this decision was arrived at as the non-partisan NJ Office of Legislative Services signed off on the constitutionality of the bill and New Jersey sits on top of part of the enormous Utica Shale, a deposit rich with natural gas which could be fracked for gas at any time.

Governor Christie, do you want a fracking waste facility..(of which none currently exist) in your town, near your water source, that your kids, family and friends get their water from? I don’t. Which community in New Jersey do you think would be a good place for a fracking waste disposal facility or storage site? Currently much of the fracking waste that is stored in nearby Pennsylvania is stored in open pits. Fluid evaporates from these pits into the air and potentially could leak into the ground. Good idea for New Jersey, our kids young lungs and developing bodies? What if we had open fracking waste pits in New Jersey during Hurricane Sandy? Where would that flooded fluid have traveled to?

My letter: November 28th, 2012

Assemblywoman Schepisi and Assemblyman Russo,

I am here today as a New Jersey resident and I am appealing to you as a parent and as a mother concerned about her children’s future. I hope you will stand up and be recognized in the assembly and counted on by your constituents and other Bergen county and state residents to support both the fracking waste ban and a continued and permanent fracking ban. We are at an interesting, critical and historic crossroads. You have a unique opportunity as a state Assembly person to lead our county and our state on the road to a future that is rich in renewable energy, and prepared and ready for extreme weather events. We need to mitigate the dangers of the current road we are on, and learn how to adapt and prevent the worst disasters from hurting us and our children.

In our haste to be “energy independent” through fracking, we haven’t considered clearly what this will mean for our children’s future and our own. We need to see ourselves here in Bergen county NJ as part of a world where extreme weather events like super storm Sandy, become more the norm then the exception, fueled in large part by our use of fossil fuels, including natural gas. You have a key role to play in helping educate other legislators about the dangers we face from climate change. As well, we need to define ourselves here in NJ as leaders, showing the nation we can slow down the fracking juggernaut, as it neither provides us with energy independence nor a secure future for our children. I cannot be bought and convinced by ad campaigns funded by Oil and Gas companies that paint fake pictures of an unreal and unsustainable future that continues to rely on fossil fuels – I hope you can’t be either; I am trusting in reality and scientific study that shows us we need to be wary and cautious of fracking, as not only is it polluting our air and our water, but it is NOT the bridge fuel to a renewable future that it was touted to be. .

This is the second year in a row for my children and I imagine for yours that here in Bergen County “Halloween” was cancelled” due to extreme weather. My neighbors and I lost power for days and in some cases weeks. Flooding in Bergen county has become commonplace and costs both us as homeowners and us as a state, millions of dollars each year.

You have a choice and an opportunity as we begin to connect the dots and become part of a positive climate legacy for our children. Legislators at all levels of government and citizens groups need to work together to identify a clean energy future. Our addiction to fossil fuels and extreme energy extraction methods like fracking are not in fact a road to energy independence but handcuffs to a past that is dooming our children’s

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

futures. By taking a stand now, against fracking and fracking waste you have a chance to move us clearly and strongly on a road to renewable energy independence. As one of over ½ of the states in our country to have a renewable energy portfolio standard, NJ has and needs to continue to be a leader on renewable energy, not a follower on a road to fossil fuel energy dependence. The shale deposits in Pennsylvania, NJ and NY will run out of gas, THIS IS A FACT, we can debate whether this will be in 10 years or 50, but regardless, we will be tied to an infrastructure based on pipelines and waste, waste that currently has no way of being safely disposed of.

This addiction to fossil fuels pollutes our air and our water and negatively impacts our children’s health, in numerous ways, including increasing the incidence and ties to illnesses like asthma poison ivy and vector born diseases like west Nile virus. there are no sides here, this isn’t a democrat or republican issue, it shouldn’t be a political issue at all. I ask you as one parent to another, look into your children’s eyes tonight and tell them that you have a roll and can play a real part in charting a clean energy path for them, for their friends and for your family. This is in your hands, we are watching and asking you to represent all of us in Bergen County and NJ and show the rest of the country that we have our children’s backs and their future in mind as we chart a renewable energy plan for our state, and one that doesn’t include fracking or accepting the waste of others to be disposed of in our state. This is personal for me, I hope it is for you too.

Yours,

Climate Mama

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