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Smith, Bateman Bill to Prohibit Fracking Wastewater Treatment or Disposal in NJ Clears Committee

Senator Bob Smith congratulates Congressman Donald Norcross on his succession to the U.S. House of Representatives.

TRENTON Legislation sponsored by Senator Bob Smith and Senator Christopher Bateman which would prohibit the treatment, disposal or other release of fracking waste in New Jersey cleared the Senate Environment and Energy Committee today.

“It is crucial we pass this legislation to protect New Jersey’s natural resources from being damaged by the chemicals found in fracking byproducts. This is not only a matter of protecting the environment, but also protecting the public health,” said Senator Smith (D-Middlesex/Somerset). “Although companies refuse to disclose many of the chemicals present in fracking wastewater, the EPA has identified several chemicals known to have harmful health effects.”

The bill, S-678, would prohibit the treatment, discharge, disposal, application to a roadway, or other release into the environment of wastewater or byproducts from hydraulic fracturing. The bill applies to wastewater, wastewater solids, sludge, drill cuttings or other byproducts resulting from fracking in any state.

The wastewater byproducts of hydraulic fracturing are extremely hazardous. While fracking is not currently taking place in New Jersey, it is occurring in 21 states including Pennsylvania.

The Delaware River Basin Commission is currently considering rules that would allow wastewater from fracking operations to be discharged in the region. This bill would seek to prevent wastewater and other byproducts from being brought into New Jersey for treatment and discharge or disposal.

The bill cleared committee by a vote of 4-1 and next heads to the full Senate for further consideration.