JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT
AN ACT CONCERNING HYDRAULIC FRACTURING WASTE IN CONNECTICUT.
Joint Favorable Substitute
Disclaimer: The following Joint Favorable Report is prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and does not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose.
SPONSORS OF BILL:
Sen. Beth Bye, 5th Dist.
Sen. George S. Logan, 17th Dist.
Rep. Patrick S. Boyd, 50th Dist.
Rep. Larry B. Butler, 72nd Dist.
Rep. Juan R. Candelaria, 95th Dist.
Rep. Devin R. Carney, 23rd Dist.
Rep. Michael D'Agostino, 91st Dist.
Rep. Patricia A. Dillon, 92th Dist.
Rep. Joseph P. Gresko, 121st Dist.
Rep. Gregory Haddad, 54th Dist.
Rep. John K. Hampton, 16th Dist.
Rep. Noreen S. Korkoruda, 101st Dist.
Rep. Gail Lavielle, 143rd Dist.
Rep. Matthew Lesser 100th Dist.
Rep Geraldo C. Reyes, 75th Dist.
Rep. Derek Slap, 19th Dist.
Rep. Chris Soto, 39th Dist.
Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, 136th Dist.
Rep. Scott Storms, 60th Dist.
Rep. Michael Winkler, 56th Dist.
Rep. Philip L. Young, 120th 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 ordnances do not want fracking waste in their communities. Among other restrictions, this bill permanently bans collecting, storing, handling, transporting, disposing and using hydraulic fracturing waste (such wastes includes those from natural gas, oil, and other subsurface hydrocarbons) in Connecticut. Currently, the aforementioned named activates in regards to hydraulic fracturing wastes are currently banned until the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection adopts regulations. The current moratorium is narrower is scope than the banning provisions listed in the bill.
Additionally, this bill includes limited exception for research, but requires the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to adopt regulations before approving any exceptions.
SUBSTITUTE LANGUAGE – LCO No. 1913
As originally drafted, the bill would have banned the acceptance, receipt, collection, storage, treatment, transfer, or disposal of waste from hydraulic fracturing for gas. Many advocates of a ban on hydraulic fracturing, through their advocacy and testimonies, requested for (1) an expansion in the scope of prohibited activities to include sale, acquisition, handling, and processing; (2) the expansion of the prohibited activates to apply to both natural gas and oil waste extracted as a result of hydraulic fracturing; and (3) a requirement that DEEP adopt regulations prior to approving any applicants request for an exemption to the prohibition for research purposes.
RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:
NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:
Nancy Alderman, President, Environment and Human Health: Hydraulic fracturing contaminates ground water and rivers, leading to people and animals becoming sick near fracking wells. According to a staff report by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, more than 650 commonly used fracking products contain chemicals that are known to be human carcinogens under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Pamela Arifian, Director, United Church of Christ Northeast Environmental Justice Center: Shared personal testimony in support of the bill as a resident of Connecticut, mother, advocate for environmental justice, educator and witness to climate change, concerned citizen and taxpayer.
JoAnne Bauer, Commissioner, Hartford's Advisory Commission on the Environment: Harford and approximately 35 other municipalities have already passed resolutions to ban fracking waste. Town and state budgets cannot afford accidents, spills, leaks, and inadequate treatment from discharges of hydraulic fracturing.
Carolyn Bayne, Water Resources Specialist, League of Women Voters of Connecticut: This bill would help to safeguard the state's groundwater, rivers, streams, lakes, aquifers and Long Island Sound. Most wastewater treatment facilities are not designed to handle wastewater with high concentrations of salts or radioactivity and cannot properly remove human carcinogens from fracking waste that could contaminate drinking water sources several hundred different types of chemicals can be used in fracking including corrosion inhibitors, surfactants, scale inhibitors, biocides and friction reducers.
Alex, Beachamp, Northeast Region Director, Food & Water Watch: “Failure to properly store, transport, process or dispose of residual waste” is one of the top violation reported in nearby states that regulate drilling and extraction activities. Food & Water Watch requests additional language to expand the prohibition to other processes that produce similar types of waste. These processes include: (1) Drilling, (2) Dehydration, and (3) Storage. Additionally, Food & Water Watch recommends expanding the prohibition of wastes from all gas and oil drilling and extraction.
Hacah Boros R.N, Coordinator of Environmental Health, Connecticut Nurses Association: Waste water from hydraulic fracturing contains fracking chemicals, highly concentrated salts, oil, grease, heavy metals and naturally occurring radioactive material. Normal water treatment facilities are unable to filter out hazardous chemicals and radiation. According to a 2015 Environmental Protection Agency report, Hydraulic Fracturing Drinking Water Assessment, the majority of the 453 chemicals used in fracturing spill have high potential to be persistent in the environment as long-term contaminants. Such chemicals include the “potential for carcinogenesis, immune system effects, changes in body weight, changes in blood chemistry, cardio-toxicity, neurotoxicity, liver and kidney toxicity, and reproductive and developmental toxicity.”
Sara C. Bronin, Faculty Director, Center for Energy and Environmental Law: The Environmental Protection Agency studied the impact of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources and found that the discharge of inadequately treated fracking wastewater and the disposal or storage of fracking wastewater in unlined pits resulting in groundwater contamination can severely impact the water supply. Additionally, a seven year study by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation concluded that improper wastewater disposal can have a significant adverse impact on water resources.
Charles Brown, Director of Health, Central Connecticut Health District: Many potential harms, such as groundwater contamination by chemicals and radioactive substances, from new shale gas technology and intensive methods, including but not limited to hydraulic fracturing, cannot be easily mitigated. The development of this technology is occurring before the full impact on the environment and human health can be adequately determined. Furthermore, there is a growing body of evidence in literature of harm to the environment and to the public's health.
Louis Burch, Connecticut Program Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment: The 2014 moratorium was enacted with the understanding that fracking wastes and fracking waste by-products pose inherent risks to the environment and health, due to the wide variety of toxic chemical compounds contained and the potential for contamination with high levels of naturally occurring radioactive materials. An analysis by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce revealed that one-third of all natural gas wells are fracked with the use of carcinogenic compounds, including formaldehyde, methanol, ethylene glycol, diesel fuel, hydrochloric acid, ethyl benzene, and toluene. Additionally, research has shown that state regulators have drastically underestimated the true radioactivity of liquid and solid fracking waste products by relying on technology that is inadequate for accurately measuring radiation levels in highly concentrated production brines.
Laura Cahn, Chair, New Haven Environmental Advisory Council: A draft ordinance banning the disposal of fracking waste is currently being processed through city of New Haven. This ordinance was recommended by the New Haven Environmental Advisory Council to the New Haven Board of Alders. The New Haven Advisory Council does not want liquid or solid fracking waste, and its 900 toxins, brought into the state for incineration, as asphalt to cover brown roads, as road de-icing products, or for any other reason. The city of New Haven stands with the more than 34 Connecticut municipalities that have enacted bans, along with many cities and towns in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Vermont.
Jeff Cordulack, Executive Director, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut: By design, fracking wastes contain secret human-made substances in addition to radioactive substances. In California, the use of irrigation with fracking wastes has tarnished reputations and brands of fruit watered with these substances.
Jean De Smet, Chair, Windham Energy Commission: Windham recently passed an ordinance banning hydraulic fracturing and drilling wastes for gas, oil and other extracted wastes. The Windham Energy Commission shared share personal testimony as having a history of being targeted by “polluting industries.”
Leendert T. DeJong, Executive Director, Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition (PRWC): Water resource risks associated with receipt, collection, storage, treatment and disposal of waste from hydraulic fracturing are well documented. This bill will further the protection of watersheds throughout the state.
Susan Eastwood, Chair, Ashford Clean Energy Task Force. The town of Ashford, along with 36 other towns, has passed a municipal ban on fracking waste as have many other towns. Along with the environmental and public health impact, there are concerns about the impact of such wastes to property values, town and state budgets of accidents, spills, leaks and inadequate treatment.
Betsy Gara, Executive Director, Connecticut Council of Small Towns (COST): COST supports the intent of this bill, but requests that the language be amended to require the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to regulate, evaluate, and enforce fracturing waste in Connecticut. The bill as drafted may inadvertently shift responsibility to towns for regulation and enforcement. Small towns do not have the staff, finances, or expertise to enforce the ban and incur substantial costs in adopting local ordinances.
Donna Hamzy, Advocacy Manager, Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM): CCM supports the bill, but requests an amendment to require the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to regulate, evaluate and enforce the fracking waste in Connecticut. Although over thirty municipalities have adopted similar language, cities and towns do not have the expertise or resources to evaluate the science associated with this matter.
Stephen Harding Jr., State Representative 117th Dist.: Hydraulic fracturing waste contains large amounts of chemical pollutants and radioactive particles toxic to humans, animals, groundwater supplies, and the environment as a whole. New York, Massachusetts, and Vermont have taken the initiative to place ordinances banning fracturing operations. The banning of hydraulic fracturing waste is a statewide issue.
Anne Hulick, Connecticut State Director, Clean Water Action: Hydraulic fracturing waste contains radioactive and toxic chemicals that are carcinogenic, neurotoxic and disruptive to hormones. Transporting and storing fracking waste poses significant risks of spills and leaks. This concern is heightened at a time this time because the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has limited resources to oversee, monitor, regulate and enforce violations. Furthermore, fracking waste used as a de-icing toll would add to the amount of toxic chemicals washing off into storm drains that ultimately drain into Connecticut waterways.
Martha Klein, Chapter Chair, Connecticut Sierra Club: This bill has a chance of changing state law and creating a permanent ban of waste from one process only, hydraulic fracturing from gas wells.
Margaret Miner, Executive Director, Rivers Alliance of Connecticut: Research conducted by the Rivers Alliance of Connecticut indicates that the state does not have the resources to treat fracking waste safely. Connecticut's three hazardous waste facilities that send treated waste to publicly owned treatment works struggle to meet standards even with their present inflow of waste. The state needs to clean up existing soil and water contamination before taking in more waste.
Mary Rickel Pelletier, Founding Director, Park Watershed: Since the legislature passed a 3-year moratorium on fracking waste entering the state, 37 municipalities have passed local bans. Hartford, Bloomfield, and West Hartford have passed local ordinances banning oil and gas drilling wastes. However, local water quality could be negatively impacted by toxic fracking wastes contamination upstream.
Mary Rydingsward, President, Pequabuck River Watershed Association: The Fracking industry's concern is profit and have been selling radioactive and toxic wastes as components of other products such as road de-icer and road fill products. Such products poison the state's soil and waterways.
Marc A. Scrivener, Vice President, Connecticut Career Fire Chiefs Association: Not only would spills, leaks and runoff be detrimental to the environment and local communities, they would be dangerous to the health of emergency responders tasked with protecting communities and mitigating spills. Chemicals found in hydraulic fracturing wastes are cancer causing.
Leah Schmalz, Chief Program Officer, Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound: Despite attempts to treat hydraulic fracturing waste, hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania has led to the contamination of their drinking water, and high levels of total suspended solids and toxins. Currently, there is a federal loophole which allows fracking waste to escape heightened regulation as a hazardous waste. This bill will address such concern. Additionally, Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound requests the bill be amended to (1) include waste products generated from oil wells, (2) define other processes for exploration, development, production or recovery of gas, (3) clarify the vague language “generated secondarily to the purpose of hydraulic fracturing,” and (4) expand prohibition to cover other methods of gas extraction that don't use hydraulic fracturing.
Jennifer Siskind, Local Coordinator, Food & Water Watch: Shared personal testimony as an advocate for the last five years, and of how fracking has personally impacted family in Pennsylvania. Included with testimony are a number of PowerPoint informational slides that provide information on, but are not limited to, maps indicating waste shipment in the Northeast and treatment facilities, pictures of hydraulic fracturing waste water, maps indicating similar bans in areas of New York state and Connecticut, and summary of Public Act 14-200.
Jonathan Steinberg, State Representative 136th Dist.: As the demand for natural gas increases, temptation to secure natural gas at any cost will also increase. Currently, the low cost of natural gas has slowed expansion of new drilling wells. The most likely waste to come to Connecticut would be from the Marcellus Shale deposits in New York and Pennsylvania.
Scott A. Storms, State Representative 16th Dist.: There are serious and substantial environmental risks and hazards to public safety associated with fracturing waste. Several states, including New York, Massachusetts, and Vermont, have banned hydraulic fracturing operations.
Sister Mary Alice Synkewecz, Director, Collaborative Center for Justice, Inc.: The Collaborative Center for Justice is concerned about the significant and damaging impacts on the people, land, air and water in Connecticut if fracking waste is permitted within the state. Access to clean water is a human right; such wastes often contain toxic and radioactive materials.
Louise Washer, President, Norwalk River Watershed Association: The city of Norwalk has begun to act locally because of the lack of action on the state level; Redding has just passed an ordinance banning wastes from oil and gas extraction processes. The Norwalk River Watershed Association included in their testimony, comments made by the public to city officials during the Norwalk Ordinance Committee meeting on the week of February 19th.
Ellen Weininger, Director of Educational Outreach, Grassroots Environmental Education: Grassroots Environmental Education supports the bill, but recommends the following: (1) close the hazardous waste loopholes to properly recognize and classify fracking waste based on peer-reviewed scientific studies, (2) include all relevant forms of oil and gas extraction in the definition of fracking wastes, (3) include a provision for bids and contracts related to the construction or maintenance of all publicly owned roads or real property within the state regarding purchase or acquisition of materials or retention of services, (4) inclusion of penalties for each violation, and (5) remove the exclusionary section of the bill for research purposes.
Carolyn Wysocki, President and CEO, Ecological Health Organization (ECHO): As a statewide nonprofit, ECHO serves the Multiple Chemical Syndrome (MCS) community. MCS is caused by repeated low level exposures to toxic chemicals, or a single exposure to one chemical. Fracking waste is composed of a long list of materials hazardous to human health.
Some fracking chemicals include d-Limonene, a known sensitizer of MCS.
The Environment Committee received approximately 125 additional similar testimonies supporting the bill explaining there are significant environmental and health hazards associated with the production, transport and disposal to fracking waste.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:
Steven Guveyan, Executive Director, Connecticut Petroleum Council: This bill is symbolic because there is no hydraulic fracturing waste treated, transported, stored or disposed of in Connecticut. There are no developable oil and natural gas resources in New England. The Connecticut General Assembly disposed of the issued in 2014 when it imposed a moratorium on such wastes with far stricter rules than required by the Environmental Protection Agency. Additionally, there has been no showing that the current law has not worked, and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is authorized to write hydraulic fracturing waste regulations by July 1, 2018. Finally, the bill is inconsistent with the governor's Comprehensive Energy Strategy which relies heavily on natural gas.
Reported by: Pamela Bianca / Ussawin R. Bumpen