September 12, 2012

Community Encouraged to Call Governor, Express Support for Anti-Fracking Bill

Grassroots activists and volunteers representing the consumer advocacy organization Food and Water Watch visited the Princeton Farmers Market last week to talk about the Fracking Waste Ban Bill that is awaiting the governor’s signature. Fracking is a process of natural gas extraction that is employed in deep natural gas well drilling.

The bill passed both houses of the state legislature with strong bipartisan support. If it is enacted, it would would make New Jersey the first state in the nation to prohibit the discharge, disposal, treatment, or storage of fracking waste products.

After vetoing the bill last year, Governor Chris Christie proposed a one-year moratorium on fracking. Once a well is drilled, millions of gallons of water, sand, and proprietary chemicals are injected under high pressure. The pressure fractures the shale and forces open fissures that enable natural gas to flow more freely out of the well. Pennsylvania inspectors have found that fluid spills have contaminated some waterways.

The New Jersey bill would specifically ban the treatment, discharge, disposal, or storage of any wastewater, wastewater solids, sludge, drill cuttings or other byproducts of fracking in New Jersey.

Food and Water Watch representatives encouraged those they talked to at the Farmers Market to call Governor Christie and express their support for the pending legislation.

“The response was very positive,” reported organizer Karin Wilkinson afterward. “We got around 60 signatures with promises to make the call.” With more numbers coming in from other public events in the state, Food and Water Watch hopes that at least 1,000 calls will be made to the governor’s office.

Last year, both Township Committee and Borough Council adopted an anti-fracking resolution proposed by the Princeton Environmental Commission (EC).

“Fracking companies aren’t required by law to disclose what’s in their solutions,” said EC Chair Matt Wasserman at the time. “Energy policies don’t have governance … [and] no one is giving us firm answers. I’m going to err on the side of caution … if an opportunity came up where we needed to let our lawmakers know about it, it is something folks here should be concerned about.”

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