JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT
AN ACT CONCERNING HYDRAULIC FRACTURING WASTE IN CONNECTICUT.
SPONSORS OF BILL:
Sen. Heather Bond Somers, 18th Dist.
Sen. Steve Cassano, 4th Dist.
Rep. David A. Baram, 15th Dist.
Rep. Patrick S. Boyd, 50th Dist.
Rep. Devin R. Carney, 23rd Dist.
Rep. Michael A. DiMassa, 116th Dist.
Rep. Josh Elliott, 88th Dist.
Rep. John K. Hampton, 16th Dist.
Rep. Susan M. Johnson, 49th Dist.
Rep. Brandon L. McGee, 5th Dist.
Rep. Matthew Lesser, 100th Dist.
Rep. Chris Soto, 39th Dist.
Rep. Pam Staneski, 119th Dist.
Rep. Scott A. Storms, 60th Dist.
Rep. Diana S. Urban, 43rd Dist.
Rep. Tami Zawistowski, 61st Dist.
REASONS FOR BILL:
Concerns have been shared about the potential health and environmental hazards associated with fracking waste. State residents by their public testimony and several municipalities by their ordinances do not want fracking waste in their communities. This bill permanently bans collecting, storing, handling, transporting, disposing, and using hydraulic fracturing waste in Connecticut. Currently, these activities are banned until the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection adopts regulations in regards to fracking waste.
RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:
NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:
David Baram, State Representative 15th Dist.: This bill is a way to create a legal prohibition to fracking and its waste by-products. Studies demonstrate that the waste products of fracking are hazardous to our environment, our health and are known to create tremors in our earth.
Carolyn Bayne, Water Resources Specialist, League of Women Voters of Connecticut: This bill would safeguard the state's groundwater, rivers, streams, lakes, aquifers and Long Island Sound from possible exposure to the highly toxic chemicals and other hazardous materials found in fracking waste. Since it may be difficult, if not impossible, for waste treatment facilities to properly remove known or possible human carcinogens from fracking waste that could contaminate drinking water sources, a permanent prohibition on the storage, disposal, handling and use of fracking waste is the most prudent course of action.
Lori Brown, Executive Director, CT League of Conservation Voters: While fracking itself is not likely in Connecticut, our state could become a dumping ground for the unwanted waste produced from fracking in other states. Citizens want the State to take action to permanently prohibit the disposal, treatment, storage, handling, de-icing applications and other uses of fracking waste and by-products anywhere in Connecticut.
Kathryn Dube, Director, Membership & Legislative Services, Connecticut Council of Small Towns: Currently, due to the potential health and safety risks associated with the storage of hydraulic fracking waste, some towns are being asked to adopt local ordinances banning the storage of such waste within their communities. Towns incur substantial costs in adopting local ordinances. However, risks associated with the storage of hydraulic fracking waste, which may affect water and other natural resources and ecological habitats, have statewide implications. As such, a statewide ban, instead of a local ordinance, on the storage of hydraulic fracking waste is a more appropriate mechanism to address concerns.
Anne Hulick, RN, MS, JD, Connecticut Director, Clean Water Action: Fracking waste is extremely hazardous and should be banned statewide. Monitoring of environmental contamination through the lifecycle of drilling, fracturing, withdrawal and transport of fracking waste is fraught with risks of contaminating the environment, is extremely costly and cannot be adequately managed by current Department of Energy and Environmental Protection enforcement staff nor should it fall to the responsibility of towns.
Scott A. Storms and Tami Zawistowski, State Representatives of the 60th and 61st Dist.:
Hydraulic fracturing is a process used to extract natural gas by injecting fluids consisting of water, sand, and chemicals at high pressure “fracturing” shale formations to allow gas to flow into collection wells on the surface. This process produces a high volume of wastewater that must be treated, recycled or disposed. Waste materials have been used as de-icing agents and land fill. This is of particular concern as the waste substance contains high concentrations of chemical pollutants and radioactive particles toxic to humans, animals, groundwater supplies and the environment.
The Environment Committee received in excess of 175 additional similar testimonies supporting the bill. There are significant environmental and health hazards associated with the production, transport, and disposal of fracking waste to Connecticut.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:
Eric Brown, Senior Counsel, Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA): CBIA is disappointed that, in the current economic, energy and legislative climate, this committee is spending valuable time on a measure that serves no practical environmental purpose to our state. Rather, this proposal only serves to placate environmental extremists who seek to have state's in proximity to those economically benefiting from producing natural gas through hydraulic fracturing, ban even the transport of associated wastewaters through their boarders in the hopes of that such strategy will help end the practice of hydraulic fracturing.
Steve Guveyan, Executive Director, Connecticut Petroleum Institute: In 2014 the Connecticut General Assembly passed Public Act 14-200 which subjects fracking wastes to strict rules and requires the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to submit new fracking regulations to the legislature by July 1, 2018. This bill short circuits the regulatory process and mandates an outright ban on fracking wastes, even though many fracking wastes are ordinary items found in food sources or household waste, including chlorine, citric acid and table salt. There has been no showing that the current law has not worked, or that any fracking by-products have improperly entered the Connecticut waste stream.
Reported by: Steve Smith / Ussawin R. Bumpen