The vote wasn’t even close. On April 12, by a 90-1 margin, Woodstock became the 13th town in Connecticut to ban fracking waste. And while the grassroots campaign to ban drilling waste is progressing one town at a time, state lawmakers could move forward on a bill that would ban it all at once across the state.
The Woodstock campaign unfolded like many of the others around Connecticut. After volunteers raised awareness among their neighbors and community members, residents attended a special town meeting where a waste ban ordinance was discussed. Following a presentation by Food & Water Watch local coordinator Jen Siskind, attendees cast their votes.
The outcome was not a big surprise to many; as resident Jean McClellan put it, "Woodstock has a long tradition of caring for its land and its natural resources."
After Woodstock, the movement will continue to grow; several dozen other towns are already considering their own waste bans. The local energy is exciting, and state lawmakers can respond to this with a bold move of their own: passing House Bill 6329, which would prohibit hydraulic fracturing waste from gas wells statewide. The bill has already passed out of the Environment Committee, but it needs more support in order to come up for a vote.
The issue for Connecticut is connected to fracking in nearby Pennsylvania, which generates billions of gallons of liquid waste, and millions of tons of solid waste. This dangerous material must either be disposed, or it can potentially used as a de-icer, to control dust on roads, or as construction and fill material. Either way, the risk of harm to public health is considerable, including chemical and radioactive contamination of water and soil, and permanent damage to private and public property.
While activists in the state wait to see what happens at the capitol, the momentum to pass local measures continues to grow, with residents in over 35 towns interested in moving local ordinances forward. As Woodstock resident Lisa Davidson put it, "It is empowering to know that a small group working together in our town helped bring about this very important measure of environmental protection for future generations."
Small groups working throughout Connecticut may be what is needed to protect the state, if legislators will not.
TAKE ACTION: Ban Fracking Waste in Connecticut!