HARTFORD, CT — The Environment Committee voted 29-1 Wednesday to forward a bill banning fracking waste to the Senate.
There is currently a moratorium on fracking waste that was approved back in 2014, but environmentalists say they can’t predict what the future holds.
The moratorium will stay in place until the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection submits legislation to address hazardous waste from fracking.
Fracking waste includes wastewater, sludge and other substances generated in the process of hydraulic fracturing of shale to get to natural gas buried underground. There is currently no fracking happening in Connecticut, but it happens in states like Pennsylvania.
In 2014, the Connecticut legislature passed a three year moratorium that temporarily prohibited fracking waste. The measure was prompted after the New York legislature considered lifting its ban on fracking. At the time many environmentalists in Connecticut called the moratorium a “watered down” version of an actual ban on fracking waste.
Legislation that featured a permanent ban easily passed in the House last year, but it sat on the Senate calendar for about a month before the session ended.
Rep. John Piscopo, R-Thomaston, called the legislation largely symbolic and argued that it was no way to write state law.
“There’s no reason for this,” Piscopo said.
Rep. Michael Demicco, D-Farmington, who co-chairs the committee, pushed back saying that just because fracking does not occur now, does not mean it will not occur in the future.
“None of us knows what the future holds,” Demicco said.
An Office of Legislative Research report from Dec. 18, 2017 found that 19 towns across the state have passed ordinances banning fracking waste.