Environmentalists mobilize support to overturn Christie on fracking waste

Environmental groups are hoping New Jersey lawmakers will attempt to override Gov. Chris Christie’s veto of a bill to ban the treatment and disposal of waste from hydraulic gas drilling.

Environmentalists dispute the governor’s claim that refusing to accept fracking waste from other states would violate the U.S. Constitution’s interstate commerce clause. There are no fracking operations in New Jersey.

When Christie rejected a similar bill two years ago, lawmakers did not consider an override.

Tracy Carluccio, the deputy director of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, said the New Jerse4y Legislature is the only hope environmentalists have for securing a ban

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

“We know that they are committed to clean water. We know they don’t want our communities polluted,” she said, “So we know that an override of Gov. Christie’s veto is not only a possibility but a likelihood as long as everybody votes their conscience.”

Republican lawmakers have never broken ranks with Christie to go against his veto of any other legislation.

Environmentalists are launching a grassroots campaign to build public support for the ban on fracking waste in hopes of getting enough GOP lawmakers to back an override.

Senate President Steve Sweeney has his doubts about the likelihood of an override attempt.

“They vote for a lot of things but when it comes to an override they vote differently,” he said of the Republican minority members. “We couldn’t even do it right now because right now in the summertime we’re not in the full complement of all of our members. That does create a problem, because we know we would need all of our members first.”

Dave Pringle, the campaign director for Clean Water Action, acknowledged it will be tough to get enough GOP support.

“But we’re counting on them to continue prioritizing clean water as they have repeatedly on this issue and win this time and not let New Jersey continue to be dumped upon,” he said.

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal