The New Jersey Senate took a brave and powerful step on June 25th, following the lead of the NJ Assembly the week before and passed a bill, protecting NJ waterways and watersheds from the dangers of toxic fracking waste.The next step will be for New Jersey’s Governor to sign the bill into law.
As we have shared with you over the past few weeks, citizens groups, businesses, environmental and religious organizations, and caring and concerned Climate Mamas and Papas have come together in New Jersey, as they are also doing around the country to demand that the oil and gas industry“clean up it’s mess” before trying to dump it on someone else’s doorstep, in this case as it relates to fracking waste fluids and solids. Most of us learned early in our lives from our parents, and we in turn try to teach our kids: “Clean up your mess when you make one.” Oil and gas industry executives should consult with their parents, as we imagine this was a lesson that was taught to them as well but one they seem to have forgotten.
There is NO safe way currently to treat fracking waste, the byproduct of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.” The waste, which contains known toxins and in many cases radioactive materials, was somehow exempt in 1995 from the Clean Water Act, an exemption which has come to be known as the “Halliburton Loophole.” Given that fracking waste isn’t therefore classified as toxic, even though we know it contains toxic materials, it then doesn’t have to be treated with the same rigor as other “toxic waste” and can therefore “legally” be sent to treatment facilities that are not equipped to deal with this type of waste adequately. Not only does this NOT make any sense under ANY circumstance, it also creates a situation where our watersheds and waterways could potential be poisoned, and we don’t have the proper regulations or tools in place to stop this from happening!
The decision to ban fracking waste by the New Jersey legislature, a decision only one other state (Vermont) has so far agreed to, is the prudent and safe way to ensure that our air, our water, our climate and our future is protected from unsafe, unregulated practices that could do irreparable harm.
If you live in NJ, be sure to thank your legislators who signed on to this bill, and ask those that haven’t why they didn’t (You can find a roll call of votes at the NJ State Legislature site, the fracking waste bill is number A575). If you live in another state where fracking waste is or could be an issue, i.e. Ohio, PA, NY, Texas, Wyoming, or really anywhere in the world where fracking is taking place, the facts are that there are no safe ways to treat toxic fracking waste. So, bring these facts up to your legislators, and here in the USA, with the Environmental Protection Agency as well. There should be standards and guidelines on what to do with fracking waste. As our parents taught us, “when you make a mess, clean it up, don’t leave it for someone else!” In this case, our future and that of our children and their children is at stake.
We leave you with a “lighter” moment, sent to us by our friends at ClimateNexus reminding us why we are fighting against climate change and all the various causes and ramifications that come with our addiction and reliance on fossil fuels.