TRENTON — A measure that prohibits hydraulic fracturing byproducts created in other states from entering New Jersey is headed to Gov. Chris Christie’s desk, but it’s unclear whether he’ll sign the bill into law.
The state Senate voted 30-5 on Monday to approve the bill, a week after it passed in the Assembly by a 56-19 vote.
Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, involves blasting chemical-laced water deep into the ground.
Some lawmakers and environmentalists say public health and natural resources would be endangered if fracking waste from neighboring states, such as Pennsylvania, enters the Garden State. But petroleum council director Jim Benton said fracking is covered under existing state regulations and also says fracking has brought down the cost of energy and provided economic benefits.
The New Jersey measure specifically bans the treatment, discharge, disposal or storage of any wastewater, wastewater solids, sludge, drill cuttings or other byproducts of the fracking practice.
Data on the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection website show 2,571 barrels of drilling waste going to a petroleum services company in Elizabeth, Union County, for brine or industrial waste treatment. They also show 737 barrels of drilling waste going to a business in Kearny, Hudson County, and tons of drill cuttings going to a firm in Carteret, Middlesex County.
Christie vetoed an outright ban on fracking last year, calling instead for a one-year moratorium, which legislators ultimately accepted. That legislation was largely symbolic, as New Jersey is not considered a viable candidate for fracking operations.
Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak declined Monday to discuss the governor’s stance on the pending bill. Drewniak said the measure “will get the usual review and consideration” that all bills approved by the Legislature get.