'Fracktivists' Rally Support for Statewide Ban Ahead of December Vote
Food & Water Watch called on the people of Cinnaminson on Thursday, asking constituents of Sen. Diane Allen to seek her support in upholding a legislative ban on fracking waste.
A local advocacy group took its message about hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking", to the people of Cinnaminson Thursday, urging residents to petition their legislators to ban the practice in New Jersey.
The Cooper River Group of the nonprofit consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch set up at the Shoppes of Cinnaminson with signs and literature. They were there to rally support for their cause from the constituents of Sen. Diane Allen (R, District 7), whose legislative offices are now in town.
“Folks are definitely concerned about [fracking]—the impact it could have on drinking water and waterways,” Emily Reuman, regional organizer for Food & Water Watch, told Patch.
The group isn't concerned so much that New Jersey could see actual fracking within its borders—the process relies on the underground extraction of natural gas from shale deposits, which don't exist in New Jersey—but that the state could be called upon to handle solid and liquid waste from such operations in nearby New York or Pennsylvania.
“The concern is that we don’t have a way to deal with it properly," Reuman said. "That’s where the fracking waste ban comes from.”
A ban on fracking waste passed through the New Jersey State Senate and Assembly earlier this year, but Gov. Chris Christie vetoed it in September. Allen voted to support the initial ban, but Reuman’s group is concerned that state Republicans will side with the governor in an upcoming December vote to overturn the veto.
“Sen. Diane Allen, she definitely has supported the fracking waste ban in the past,” Reuman said. “Our concern is when this comes up again for a vote, we need to make sure our Legislature votes the same way they did the first time now that they are facing the governor’s opposition. If they do, they would override the governor’s veto.”
In August 2011, Christie issued a one-year moratorium on the practice "so that the DEP can further evaluate the potential environmental impacts of this practice in New Jersey as well as evaluate the findings of still outstanding and ongoing federal studies,” according to a press release.
After both houses of the New Jersey legislative branch passed a ban on the practice in the state, Christie then vetoed the measure, calling it unconstitutional to outlaw a business that doesn't yet operate in the state.
But Reuman said there have been reports of fracking waste in at least three facilities in New Jersey and that waste from Pennsylvania—where fracking is a hot-button issue—was dumped in a New York landfill.
“You’re shooting a whole load of chemicals that include lead, arsenic and other known carcinogens," she said. "This toxic wastewater comes back up and has to be disposed somewhere."