Environmental groups are pushing New Jersey lawmakers to fight Republican Gov. Chris Christie on natural gas fracking, saying Christie is putting the state at risk of pollution through flawed legal reasoning.
While the state doesn't produce a great deal of natural gas, critics are worried that wastewater from fracking procedures used to extract gas in neighboring New York and Pennsylvania will end up in New Jersey treatment facilities, according to the Newark Star-Ledger
Last week, Christie vetoed legislation to ban fracking waste from entering the state, and on Monday, a coalition of protest groups urged the Democratic-controlled legislature to overturn his veto.
Christie said he vetoed the bill because the interstate commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution prevents him from stopping waste from entering New Jersey from other states.
"Because the nation is one common market in which state lines cannot be barriers to commerce, the Dormant Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution limits a state’s ability to regulate interstate commerce," he wrote in his veto message. He also noted the ban on fracking waste would likely be thrown out in a court challenge.
"They know that it's wrong and they send it anyway because they think, 'Well, he won't veto it because that would take some guts.' Well, I did," Christie said.
Democratic Assemblywoman Connie Wagner, one of the bill's co-sponsors, said the governor's veto was still a surprise to her because "this is not an issue of interstate commerce."
"It's an issue of protecting our drinking water," she said.
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