The movement to ban toxic fracking waste in Connecticut keeps growing—and the latest victories are especially important.
The towns of Meriden and Bristol are home to privately-owned, for-profit hazardous waste treatment facilities that could apply for permits to handle fracking waste in the future. And in the last few weeks, both of their city councils wisely passed laws prohibiting toxic and potentially radioactive fracking waste in their communities.
This is big. There are only three cities in the state where this waste could possibly be treated, and now two of them have slammed on the brakes. That means no storage tank farms or transfer stations, no handling or treatment, and no application on any road or property.
These local ordinances protect the public from exposure to radioactivity and chemicals that cause leukemia, lymphoma, breast, bone and other cancers, organ failure, birth defects and a host of other serious health problems. And they also save taxpayers from costly repairs of city infrastructure, remediation and restitution expenses.
These local victories point to a dirty little secret in Connecticut. Our current moratorium on shipping fracking waste into the state is loaded with loopholes, putting communities at risk for contamination. These loopholes, and the state law requiring the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) to write rules for treating fracking waste, have been the focal point of our fight to protect Connecticut for the past three years.
Citizens across Connecticut are saying loud and clear: We don’t want toxic, radioactive fracking waste in our state. And they are stepping up to protect their communities, with citizen action and champions in local government. This is necessary only because state lawmakers have repeatedly failed to turn the current temporary moratorium into a permanent ban.
A huge round of applause is due for the exemplary leadership shown by city leaders of Meriden and Bristol. And the same goes for other municipalities like Milford, Branford, and Hartford, where local leaders have also been advocates. They have been taking time to meet and talk with Food & Water Watch to learn about the realities of fracking waste—the facts that that the oil & gas industry, and their lobbyists, don’t want to share with the public.
We will keep winning local bans, while we push state lawmakers to pass a real waste ban that applies everywhere.