Another Friday Night Massacre – Christie Vetoes Fracking [Waste] Ban Bill
“NJ Comeback” Exposed As A Shocking Race To the Bottom
“The governor’s decision is a slap in the face of every New Jerseyan who cherishes clean water,” ~~~ Senator Bob Gordon [D-Bergen]
In the ultimate Friday night massacre, just after Governor Christie issued an edict to threaten whistleblowers who release embarrassing financial data, the Governor vetoed a bill [A575/S253] that would have banned the processing and disposal of fracking wastewater and drilling wastes in NJ.
You can read the Governor’s Absolute Veto message here:
Christie vetoes fracking waste legislationFRIDAY SEPTEMBER 21, 2012, 4:32 PMGovernor Christie today vetoed legislation that would have banned the treatment or disposal of waste from fracking, arguing that the ban would have been an illegal obstruction of interstate trade.The bill’s sponsors, however, said Christie’s legal arguments are wrong, and environmentalists vowed to pressure the state legislature to override the governor’s veto. [...]“The governor’s decision is a slap in the face of every New Jerseyan who cherishes clean water,” said state Sen. Robert Gordon, D-Fair Lawn, one of the ban’s sponsors.Another sponsor, Assemblywoman Connie Wagner, D-Paramus, agreed. ‘For someone who talks so much about leadership,” she said of Christie, “it seems contradictory to punt on this issue when it could potentially put our residents in harm’s way while we wait for the federal government to take action.“The prudent thing to do,” she said, “would be to halt these practices in any shape or form until we know for sure what harm, if any, they might pose.”Gordon and Wagner also cited an opinion issued by the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services, which concluded the ban would not violate the Dormant Commerce Clause because the ban would have included fracking waste from New Jersey, so as not to discriminate among states.
Legislators took testimony and the bill was carefully crafted to avoid an impermissible burden on inter-state commerce. The bill was not only non-discriminatory with respect to commerce, it was grounded in and based on the legitimate State police power to protect public health and the water resources of the state from pollution. I testified on some of those issues, which arose out of NJ’s experience in blocking garbage imports.
The Governor’s political spin and excuse for the veto flat out contradicts independent Office of Legislative Services lawyers who confirmed that the bill would not restrict inter-state commerce.
In vetoing this bill, Gov. Christie is backing NJ business groups who strongly opposed the ban, arguing that it would limit jobs! As I wrote:
Shockingly, the NJ Business and Industry Association wants to turn the clock back 50 years, and return NJ to the waste importation capital of the Eastern seaboard – and more absurdly, do so on the basis of Republican political talking points: “job creation” (conveniently just presented to the Republican Governors Assc.).
Talk about a race to the bottom! NJ is Open For Business – we are competing to import toxic waste from Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, West Virginia…!
So there it is – NJ is coming full circle.
But instead of taking Philadelphia and New York’s garbage, Governor Christie’s ”New Jersey Comeback” will have us importing fracking wastewater to the Dupont facility in Deepwater - the treated fracking wastewater will then be discharged to the Delaware River.
But, as experts have warned, current wastewater treatment technology can not remove many of the pollutants in fracking wastewater, including radioactive compounds.
That should blend in to the background just nice, as that wastewater dilutes and flows down the Delaware river, past the Salem Nuclear Complex.
[ps - in all honesty, there is one thing that I agree with the Governor’s veto on - and I will chalk that up to a total lack of discipline by certain environmental group spokespersons, who were warned by colleagues not only to stay on message, but to avoid the minefields in inter-state restriction arguments:
Indeed, throughout the emotional and heated legislative hearings on this bill, the Fracking Waste produced in neighboring states was repeatedly referenced, demonstrating the impermissible, discriminatory intent and effect of Assembly Bill No. 575 to exclude out-of-state Fracking Waste in violation of the Dormant Commerce Clause.