Monday, July 4, 2011

Will NJ's governor limit the legislature's fracking ban?

Governor Chris Christie may seek to limit to five years the permanent ban on hydrofracturing (fracking) contained in a bill that received final passage in the state legislature last week.

Bob Jordon of Gannett's Statehouse Bureau wrote today that Christie may call for the change by returning the legislation to the Senate and Assembly in a conditional veto. A CV is a deal-cutting method used by governors to say: Hey, Legislature, if you make changes x, y and z, I'll sign your bill.

Christie hasn't publicly commented on the fracking ban contained in S-2576, but his close ally, Senator Joseph Kyrillos, offered an unsuccessful amendment on the Senate floor that called for the ban to serve for five years only. 

In arguing for the limit, Kyrillos said:
"“I understand the thrust (of the proposed permanent ban), and from what I can see this practice is not in the form that we would like, and there’s potential danger, but it’s also possible that over time the practice can be refined,” Kyrillos said.

“There is great promise of natural gas finds in the country, in Pennsylvania and perhaps someday in New Jersey, though that’s not the case today. I think it’s more prudent, as we try to deal with more ways to be energy independent and motivate our economy for the next generation, to preserve the option in case we get to the point of environmental safety.”

No natural gas drilling is taking place currently in New Jersey.  The gas-rich Marcellus Shale bypasses the Garden State in its stretch from Western New York into Pennsylvania. 

But environmentalists are concerned that another shale deposit, the Utica formation, eventually will come into play.

For more on how New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania are dealing with 'fracking,' check out our recent posts:

Three years and still no fracking tax in's why

NJ bans fracking. NY un-bans it. PA skips a frack tax

Corbett stares down PA lawmakers on gas-drilling fees
Winning hearts and minds of six-year-olds--for fracking

Marcellus Shale sites included in EPA fracking study
PA bill requires disclosure of chemicals in fracking fluid

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