About two months ago, the state legislature of New Jersey voted to ban hydraulic fracturing there altogether and sent this bill up to Governor Chris Christie to be signed into law. As I blogged, Energy in Depth sent a letter to Governor Christie of New Jersey, asking him to veto the bill. The industry, environmental groups, and the general public waited to see what Governor Christie would do.
Late last week, Governor Christie vetoed the bill—but recommended to instate a one-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in order for New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection could study the matter. While this one year moratorium is obviously preferable to an outright ban of hydraulic fracturing, it is still not an industry victory.
Instating a ban of any time frame suggests that hydraulic fracturing is a threat to the environment. Of over one million wells drilled in the past 60 years using the technologies of hydraulic fracturing, there has been not one proven case where fractured well has been the cause of groundwater contamination.
Lee Fuller of Energy in Depth released this statement:
“It’s unfortunate and ill-advised that Gov. Christie would seek to ban the regulated use of hydraulic fracturing for any period of time, a technology that has been used safely for generations not only in the context of oil and natural gas, but to stimulate water wells and gain access to geothermal energy.
As the Garden State’s natural gas demands continue to tick upward, and with the governor touting the clear benefits of this abundant homegrown resource, banning this time-tested technology in the state – where no operators are actively seeking to explore for natural gas – flies directly in the face of common sense.”
Additionally, New Jersey has no natural gas production, so the ban is clearly a political move. Instead of political positioning, Governor Christie and the state legislatures should model themselves after New York, which has plentiful reserves of natural gas, and where Governor Cuomo just lifted the ban on hydraulic fracturing.
Politics should never trump policy. It is dangerous to create a precedent which suggests something other than the facts: Hydraulic fracturing is a proven, safe method; the utilization of which can unlock an abundance of energy which would create jobs, grow our economy, and increase our energy security.