TRENTON — The state Senate voted Monday 30-5 to pass a bill banning fracking waste.
If it passes both houses and is signed by the governor, New Jersey would become the second state in the nation to ban fracking waste and the first state in the Delaware River basin to do so.
There is an imminent need for the law, the groups said, since another law passed this summer created a loophole for the Chemours/DuPont Chamber Works facility in Salem County to seek DEP approval to begin importing hazardous waste from other states.
Similar bills passed in 2012 and 2014, but were vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie, said a coalition of environmental groups in a press release.
“For nearly 10 years, leaders from the grassroots movement have been fighting for a victory to protect New Jersey from fracking, and it’s because of them that the Senate passed the bill,” said Lena Smith, policy advocate and senior organizer at Food & Water Watch. “Banning fracking waste will protect our water and send a message that New Jersey is not a dumping ground for the dirty fracking industry. Now it’s time for the Assembly to move this bill and get it to Gov. Murphy’s desk.”
Millions of gallons of waste material from neighboring Pennsylvania must be disposed of or treated, according to the groups.
The bipartisan bill (S678) was sponsored by Sens. Bob Smith and Christopher Bateman.
“We applaud the Senate for standing up to protect our health, welfare and water supplies,” said Nancy Hedinger, president of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. “Allowing the discharge or treatment of fracking waste into New Jersey would be irresponsible, dangerous and costly, so we implore the Assembly to follow the Senate’s example and act immediately to ban fracking waste in our state.”
The New Jersey League of Conservation Voters said it was pleased the Legislature is taking up the issue.
“Our families and businesses deserve to be protected against dangerous toxic waste,” said Ed Potosnak, executive director of the league.
The Delaware River Basin Commission faces an imminent decision over whether to allow fracking waste treatment facilities in the watershed.
“Passing this law will only help to strengthen the rules and enact a complete ban on fracking in the Delaware River Basin,” Smith said.