Environmental groups are urging New Jersey lawmakers to try overriding Gov. Chris Christie's veto of a fracking waste ban before the Legislature's summer break.

 

Environmentalists say landfills and water-treatment plants in New Jersey are not equipped to handle hazardous materials in the waste from fracking, the controversial practice of releasing natural gas by fracturing surrounding rock with a mixture of water and chemicals.

"The Legislature took action to stop this practice from going forward, but the governor stood in the way of that," said Jim Walsh, state director for Food and Water Watch. "Really, only an ostrich with its head in the sand would think dumping waste in New Jersey is the right thing to do."

Some environmentalists donned ostrich costumes to accentuate his point.

Christie rejected the ban on accepting the waste from other states, including Pennsylvania, in November. At that time, he said it would be an unconstitutional limit on interstate commerce.

New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel admits getting the Legislature to override that veto won't be easy.

"We know we have the support, but we have to turn that support into votes. The governor is a very powerful person, and a lot of legislators especially in the Republican caucus will have to stand up to the governor," he said Thursday. "That's what's key, but they can stand up for clean water."

When the governor rejected the ban in November he said it would be an unconstitutional limit on interstate commerce.

An override attempt has not been scheduled in the Senate or Assembly.

Every previous effort to override a Christie veto has been unsuccessful.