Senator JENNIFER BECK
District 11 (Monmouth)
Senator CHRISTOPHER "KIP" BATEMAN
District 16 (Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset)
Establishes moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for purpose of natural gas exploration or production until certain federal laws are changed.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act establishing a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, and supplementing Title 13 of the Revised Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. The Legislature finds and declares that the practice of the drilling technique of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas exploration and production has been found to use a variety of contaminating chemicals and materials that can suddenly and in an uncontrolled manner be introduced into the surface waters and ground water of the State; that the companies engaging in the use of this drilling technique have been less than forthcoming in revealing the “cocktail” of chemicals and their volume that can be introduced into these waters; that in June 2010, there occurred an incident of an uncontrolled release of many gallons of contaminated water and natural gas from a hydraulic fracturing drill site in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, and other such accidents are likely to occur; and that the concerns surrounding this drilling practice and its potentially harmful environmental effects have led the United States Environmental Protection Agency to undertake a study of hydraulic fracturing, the techniques and materials employed in its implementation, and the environmental impact of these practices, techniques and materials.
The Legislature further finds and declares that certain federal environmental laws, such as the "Safe Drinking Water Act," the "Clean Air Act," the "Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972," as amended by the federal "Clean Water Act of 1977," and the "Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980," that protect the nation's water, soil, and air from the discharge of pollution have exemptions for the injection of hazardous chemicals and fluids used in hydraulic fracturing; and that these exemptions allow emissions, spills, and releases to occur in hydraulic fracturing activities that would otherwise be illegal.
The Legislature therefore determines it is prudent and in the best interest of the people of the State of New Jersey to establish a moratorium on the practice of hydraulic fracturing in the State for the purpose of natural gas exploration or production until the provisions in the federal laws that exempt the underground injection of hazardous chemicals from coverage are removed and the Department of Environmental Protection certifies to that fact.
2. a. No person may use the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing in the State for the purpose of natural gas exploration or production until the Department of Environmental Protection certifies that:
(1) the federal "Safe Drinking Water Act," 42 U.S.C. s.300f et al., has been amended so that it no longer excludes from regulation the underground injection of fluids or propping agents pursuant to hydraulic fracturing operations related to oil or gas production activities;
(2) the federal "Clean Air Act," 42 U.S.C. s.7401 et seq., has been amended so that emissions of hazardous air pollutants from oil and gas wells in close proximity under common control by a single operator may be aggregated and regulated;
(3) the federal "Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972," as amended by the federal "Clean Water Act of 1977," 33 U.S.C. s.1251 et seq., has been amended so that oil and gas production is not exempt from stormwater runoff permitting by the United States Environmental Protection Agency; and
(4) the "Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980," 42 U.S.C. s.9601 et al., has been amended so that a release of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, or xylene if contained in crude oil or petroleum are considered hazardous substances and are subject to liability, regulation, and coverage by the law.
b. The Commissioner of Environmental Protection shall obtain a copy of the amendments to the federal laws that satisfy the requirements of subsection a. of this section and shall issue a certification, in writing, when the requirements have been met and that the amendments to the federal laws are in effect. The certification shall be transmitted to the Legislature pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1). The prohibition established in subsection a. of section 2 of this act shall end on the 60th day after transmission to the Legislature of the certification that federal laws have been amended and the amendments are in effect.
c. As used in this act, “hydraulic fracturing” means the drilling technique of expanding existing fractures or creating new fractures in rock by injecting water, often with chemicals, sand, or other substances, and often under pressure, into or underneath the surface of the rock for purposes including, but not necessarily limited to, well drilling and natural gas exploration and production. The term “hydraulic fracturing” shall include “fracking,” “hydrofracking,” “hydrofracturing,” and other colloquial terms for this drilling technique.
3. This act shall take effect immediately and shall expire on the 60th day after transmission of the certification to the Legislature pursuant to subsection b. of section 2 of this act.
This bill establishes a moratorium on the practice of hydraulic fracturing in the State for the purpose of natural gas exploration or production until the federal "Safe Drinking Water Act," "Clean Air Act," "Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972," as amended by the federal "Clean Water Act of 1977," and "Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980" are changed to remove exemptions currently included therein for hydraulic fracturing activities.