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Advocates Mobilize Against Fracking Waste

by | Apr 16, 2014 12:19pm () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Energy, Environment

Hugh McQuaid photo Advocates seeking to ban the storage in Connecticut of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing delivered petitions with thousands of signatures to policymakers Wednesday as the legislature considers two bills on the subject.

The petitions, which advocates say contained more than 5,600 signatures, urged Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and lawmakers to support a bill that would prohibit the storage and disposal in Connecticut of wastes associated with the hydraulic fracturing process used to extract natural gas.

The state does not have the natural gas resource deposits to engage in the process, known as “fracking,” but advocates are concerned that companies will truck the wastewater into Connecticut from operations in nearby states.

The petitions were organized by several environmental groups including the Connecticut Fund for the Environment. Laura McMillan, the group’s communications director, said the state needs to act now to prevent fracking waste from entering Connecticut in the near future.

McMillan said advocates are not sure exactly what is contained in the waste because the chemicals used in the fracturing process are considered trade secrets by energy companies.

“The only sure way to protect our waters from toxic fracking waste is a complete ban,” she said.

On Monday, the Judiciary Committee passed the ban in a 34-6 vote with support from all the panel’s Democrats and many Republicans. Sen. Ed Meyer, co-chairman of the Environment Committee, said lawmakers want to see more access to natural gas in Connecticut.

“Some people argue you better be prepared to deal with the downside” of that process “but our committee found that difficult because of the toxicity and the danger to our constituents,” Meyer said.

Sen. John Kissel, Judiciary Committee’s ranking Republican, supported the bill. Kissel called the impact of fracking waste in other areas of the country “deplorable.”

However, others on the committee said they preferred another bill that was proposed by Malloy’s Energy and Environmental Protection Department. That legislation would ban the waste in Connecticut until DEEP has adopted regulations for it.

Sen. Michael McLachlan, R-Danbury, said he opposed the ban because it sent a mixed message with efforts to expand access to natural gas.

“Here’s the reality — there’s no fracking waste coming into Connecticut anytime soon. Everybody in this building has been rooting for natural gas. I’m uncomfortable with the mixed message. I don’t like voting without homework and the homework isn’t done yet,” he said.

Proponents of the more permanent ban fear the environmental protection agency does not have enough resources to adequately regulate toxic or radioactive chemicals entering the state from fracking operations.

Andrew Doba, Malloy’s spokesman, said the administration was interested in the legislation but did not indicate which proposal they preferred.

“We are actively monitoring the proposals, and will continue to do so as they go through the legislative process,” he said.

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(2) Archived Comments

posted by: DirtyJobsGUy | April 16, 2014  1:33pm

We’re happy to take the gas but obviously want nothing to do with any thing else (we ship regular CT Garbage to PA now, so I can’t believe the drillers would find a disposal site in CT for whatever can’t be evaporated).

This is way beyond pollution control and sends exactly the type of anti-business message the Governor (and republicans) say they are against.  Remember every human enterprise generates waste from broken lightbulbs to scrap metal etc.  If we cannot deal with facts and share responsibility then no enterprise will want to come here.

posted by: Be Green923 | April 16, 2014  4:37pm

@DirtyJobsguy, your argument is used ad nauseum to downplay the validity of countless environmental and public health initiatives, regardless of whether or not there are actually jobs that could be created in a given field.  It’s an insult to people’s intelligence.

Those who argue that this ban will close CT’s doors to any kind of legitimate job growth are ignoring the overwhelming scientific evidence that fracking waste disposal carries with it tremendous potential for groundwater contamination.  Also, fracking waste transportation and disposal in our state carries with it the potential to expose MILLIONS of CT residents to extremely under-regulated radioactive waste.

The federal government has not done their job on this issue, and states like PA and OH are just now realizing the irreversible impacts and the toxic legacy this industry is leaving for their states.  Our elected officials are well within their rights to say no to the oil & gas industry’s dirty little secrets, and so they should.

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