Concerned about potential threats to New Jersey waterways, the state's legislature passed restrictions on the controversial practice of fracking on June 26.
"[The state Assembly] overwhelmingly passed a bill designed to ban the treatment and disposal of waste generated by hydraulic fracturing," The Record reported. "The Senate had already approved the measure last month, which now faces a final hurdle – the signature of Governor Christie."
Christie, a Republican, previously halted efforts by the legislature to permanently ban fracking. It remains unclear how he will proceed this time.
The bill cleared the Assembly with substantial support. "The Assembly passed S-1041, the state Senate’s version of the bill, in a 62-16 vote with one abstention," Law 360 reported.
Fracking is not practiced in New Jersey, but it still has an impact on the state.
"It is a big industry in neighboring Pennsylvania. Some New Jersey facilities have handled the wastewater," the Associated Press reported. New Jersey "lies on the Utica Shale, which has less abundant natural-gas reserves than the nearby Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and New York," according to The Hill.
Back in 2012, Christie backed a one-year moratorium on fracking in lieu of legislation to permanently ban the practice in his state.
Christie said during that legislative session: “I share many of the concerns expressed by the legislators that sponsored this [fracking ban legislation] and the environmental advocates seeking a permanent moratorium on fracking. We must ensure that our environment is protected and our drinking water is safe,” according to The Hill.
"I am placing a one-year moratorium on fracking so that the [state] 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," he continued.
To the consternation of environmental advocates, the legislature backed Christie's plan two years ago. "Environmentalists had hoped the Democratic-controlled Legislature would try to override the governor's conditional veto," the Associated Press reported.
For more oil and gas news, check out Water Online's Produced Water Treatment Solution Center.
Image credit: "NJ Governor Chris Christie," Bob Jagendorf © 2011, used under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
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