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Governor Christie Conditionally Vetoes S-2576

Governor Christie Conditionally Vetoes S-2576

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Governor Christie today issued a conditional veto of S-2576, recommending changes to the legislation that appropriately balance his commitment to protecting New Jersey’s environment and drinking water and encouraging cleaner energy with the need for proper study of the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in New Jersey.
Governor Christie today issued a conditional veto of S-2576, recommending changes to the legislation that appropriately balance his commitment to protecting New Jersey’s environment and drinking water and encouraging cleaner energy with the need for proper study of the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in New Jersey.

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Published by: Governor Chris Christie on Aug 25, 2011
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STATEOFNEWJERSEY
EXECUTIVEDEPARTMENT
August25,2011SENATEBILLNO.2576TotheSenate:PursuanttoArticle
V,
Section
I,
Paragraph
14
oftheNewJerseyConstitution,IamreturningSenateBillNo.2576withmyrecommendationsforreconsideration.Thisbillwouldpermanentlyprohibitadrillingtechniqueknownashydraulicfracturing(commonlyreferredtoas"fracking"),whichisusedfortheexplorationorproductionofnaturalgas.Isharemanyoftheconcernsexpressedbythelegislatorsthatsponsoredthisbillandtheenvironmentaladvocatesseekingapermanentmoratoriumonfracking.Wemustensurethatourenvironmentisprotectedandourdrinkingwaterissafe.WhileIdosharethesponsors'concernsaboutprotectingourdrinkingwater,Idonotbelievethatthecasehasbeenmadetojustifyacomplete,permanent,statutoryprohibitiononfracking.Thelegislativeprocessrevealedasubstantialdisagreementbetweenthosewhofavoredabanonfrackingandthosewhoopposedit.Significantly,thebillwaspushedthroughthelegislatureattheverysametimethattwofederalagencies-theEnvironmentalProtectionAgency(USEPA)andtheDepartmentofEnergy(USDOE)-werestudyingtheenvironmentalimpactofthisdrillingtechnique.WhiletheUSDOEissuedpreliminaryrecommendationsoverthepasttwoweeksontheimmediatestepsthatcanbetakentoimprovethesafetyandenvironmentalperformanceofshalegasdevelopment,includingthedevelopmentofbestpractices,afinalreportbytheUSDOEisnotexpecteduntilNovember2011andthepreliminaryfindingsofUSEPA'sstudyarenotexpectedtobereleaseduntil2012.
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STATEOFNEWJERSEY
EXECUTIVEDEPARTMENT
2
Basedonmyreviewofthelegislativerecord,there
lS
noclearconsensusonthemeritsofthisdrillingtechniqueandwhetheritcanbeconductedinamannerthatadequatelyprotectsourenvironment.Ontheotherhand,whilethelegislaturevotedtobanthisprocess,thereisnodisputethatweareunawareofanynaturalgasdepositsinNewJerseythatareunderformalconsiderationforexplorationorextractionusingthisprocess.Inaddition,Ibelieveitwouldbeprematureandill-advisedtoimposeapermanentbanwhiletheUSDOEandUSEPAarestudyingthisissueandwithoutthebenefitoftheviewsoftheNewJerseyDepartmentofEnvironmentalProtection(NJDEP).Accordingly,basedonallofthesecircumstances,Ibelievethatthebetterapproachtothisissueistoimposeaone-yearmoratoriumonfrackinginNewJerseywhiletheUSDOEandUSEPAcontinuetostudyfracking,andtheNJDEPconductsanindependentevaluationoftheissueandreportsitsfindings.TheissuesaroundfrackinghavecometotheforefrontbecauseofimprovementsintechnologythathavemadeitpossibletolocateandreachnaturalgasdepositsInshaleformationsthatcouldnothavebeenaccessedeconomicallyevenfiveortenyearsago.Todate,thenaturalgasdepositsthathavebeenidentifiedasaccessiblebyfrackingarelocatedoutsideofNewJersey.Forexample,oneofthemostsignificantnaturalgasdepositsisintheMarcellusShalewhichislocatedprimarilyinPennsylvania,NewYork,Ohio,andWestVirginia.Someexpertspredictthatthenation'sshaleresourcescouldprovidethenationwithalOO-yearsupplyofnaturalgas.SuchasignificantsupplyofnaturalgaslocatedintheregionprovidessignificantpotentialbenefitsforNewJerseythatmustbeweighedinthepolicydecisiononwhetherweshould
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STATEOFNEWJERSEY
EXECUTIVEDEPARTMENT
3
banorregulatefracking.ManybusinessesinNewJerseyprovidegoodsorservicesthatareutilizedbythenaturalgasindustry.Thesebusinesseshavethepotentialtogrowasthenaturalgasfieldslocatedwithinshalelayersaredevelopedor,ifinthefuture,productivenaturalgasdepositsarefoundwithinthisState.WealsocannotignorethefactthatNewJerseyhasthefourthhighestenergycostsinthenation.Ourresidents-bothindividualsandbusinessesrelyonnaturalgasand,ifthisresourcecanbelocatedandproducedclosertohome,itcanbeprovidedtoNewJerseyresidentsmorecheaply.Inadditiontothepotentialeconomicbenefitstoourcitizens,theuseofnaturalgasasanenergysourceisconsistentwithgoodenvironmentalpolicy.Naturalgasisamuchcleanerformofenergythancoaloroil,emittingmuchlesssulfurdioxide,fineparticulates,volatileorganiccompounds(VOCs),andgreenhousegasesthanthoseenergysources.Accordingly,ourdraftEnergyMasterPlanseekstoencouragethedevelopmentofin-state,naturalgas-firedelectricalpowernotonlytoreduceourenergycosts,butalsotoprotectourenvironmentbyeliminatingourneedforpowerfromcoalstatesandbyacceleratingthedecommissioningofolder,dirtier,andlessefficientcoalandoil-firedelectricalgenerationplantsJ.nthisState.Ontheotherhand,thereareenvironmentalconcernsrelatedtohydraulicfracturingthatneedtobeconsideredandbalancedagainsttheseotherbenefits.Forexample,whiletheshalegasformationsarewellbelowdrinkingwateraquifersandseparatedbyimperviousrockformations,environmentaladvocateshaveexpressedconcernthatthechemicalsusedtofracturetheshaleformationmayrisethroughfissuresintheimperviouslayersand
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