When it comes to protecting the environment, every victory is one to celebrate. This week environmentalists have something to celebrate. The New Jersey Senate voted 33 to one this week to ban the use of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas drilling in New Jersey, making it the first legislature in the U.S. to pass such a bill. Better known as fracking, hydraulic fracturing pollutes drinking water and is a significant source of carbon emissions. In March, the Assembly passed the bill 56 to 11.
Sen. Robert Gordon (D-Bergen), one of the bill’s primary sponsors, said fracking, “represents the greatest threat to New Jersey’s water supply than anything else we face today.”
“I don’t think we can wait for five years. I think we need to send a clear signal to the rest of the nation that New Jersey values its water resources,” Gordon said.
Environmental groups applauded the bill. “The New Jersey Legislature is taking the pro-active step of preventing contamination of our drinking water and environment, the only sure way to protect our residents from fracking pollution. This is a great day for the state’s present and future generations,” said Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network.
“New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s signature is all that is necessary now for this critical and timely statewide ban to go into effect,” said Jim Walsh, Eastern Region Director of Food & Water Watch. “If he approves it, New Jersey will be the first state to stand up against the devastating environmental and public health impacts of fracking, which have wreaked havoc on other states across the U.S.”
“This bill is a great victory for clean water in New Jersey and we believe it will be a national model,” said Jeff Tittel Director NJ Sierra Club. “We hope this bill sends a message to the governor to oppose fracking in the Delaware Basin and protect New Jersey waters.”
Walsh told De Smog Blog that the oil and gas industry has tremendous influence in Congress. “The reality is this industry has used influence in Washington to exempt themselves from important regulations that are meant to protect public health, our drinking water and the environment,” said Walsh. “The industry consistently fights legislation that would bring them into compliance with these important federal laws.”
[photo credits] User: MarcellusProtest
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