It's Time To Ban Frack Waste in New Jersey

Governor Murphy announces his support for a fracking ban in the Delaware River Basin in February, 2018.
Credit: Office of the Governor of New Jersey


The New Jersey Senate voted with an overwhelming majority to pass the fracking waste ban legislation! It still needs to pass the Assembly before arriving on Governor Murphy's desk. Reach out to your assembly members and ask them to support a ban on fracking wastewater!

New Jersey’s State Senate is set to vote on an important bill on Monday that bans the treatment, discharge, storage, and disposal of fracking waste statewide, including on roadways. Should it be signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy, New Jersey would be only the second state in the country that has banned fracking waste, following Vermont.

The bipartisan bill, sponsored by State Senators Christopher Batemen and Bob Smith, comes at a crucial moment as New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware determine the extent of a proposed ban on fracking in the Delaware watershed, the drinking water supply for over 17 million Americans.

Fracking generates massive amounts of chemical-laced, and at times radioactive wastewater that threatens drinking water supplies and the health of our communities. One study found that more than 75 percent of the chemicals used in fracking are associated with adverse effects on the skin, eyes, respiratory and gastrointestinal systems, about 40 percent could have effects on the brain/nervous system, immune and cardiovascular systems, the kidneys and endocrine system, and 25 percent are associated with cancer and mutations. These threats to water quality are present well beyond the footprint of the fracking well, even into areas where fracking itself is banned.

Even industrially-treated fracking wastewater can harm water quality, especially because many of the chemicals used in fracking are proprietary, and thus, are kept secret. How can treatment facilities be certain that they are effectively treating wastewater if they don’t know what it contains?

New Jersey’s Legislature has twice voted to ban fracking wastewater, and once to ban fracking outright. But despite bipartisan support, and backing and leadership from grassroots groups throughout the state, former Governor Chris Christie vetoed those bills. In 2011, Christie instituted a one-year moratorium on fracking, which subsequently expired. This is a huge opportunity to block fracking waste from coming into New Jersey.

New Jersey’s ban is a model that can be replicated by other states that are threatened by fracking waste, including New York. By taking this step, New Jersey would be demonstrating critical leadership at a time when the Trump administration is doing everything in its power to expand fossil fuel extraction. Toxic fracking waste has no place in our drinking water supplies!

New Jerseyans: you can reach out to your legislators and ask them to support a ban on fracking wastewater!