HARTFORD, Conn. – The Senate approved a three-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing wastewater Monday as part of a bipartisan bill that environmental advocates called “watered down.”
If approved by the House and the governor, the legislation will temporarily ban waste associated with the “fracking” process used to extract natural gas. The state does not have the natural gas deposits of its own, but advocates have raised concerns that companies will truck the wastewater into Connecticut from operations in nearby states.
Environment Committee Co-Chairman Sen. Ed Meyer (D-12) said his panel voted to act on the issue “after receiving a lot of scientific evidence that fracking waste is extremely toxic, full of radioactivity, bromides, toxic metals” and has prompted lawsuits “in Pennsylvania because of contamination of water from fracking waste.”
Connecticut is too far from fracking operations to make it a realistic location for waste. But Meyer said that could change as nearby New York is considering lifting its current ban on fracking.
The bill, which went on the consent calendar after hours of debate, gives the state Energy and Environmental Protection Department three years to decide how to regulate the waste. It permits the agency to allow a limited amount of wastewater into Connecticut in order to study it.