By SHERRI RUGGIERI
Today, in Trenton, the New Jersey State Senate approved Waste Facilities Bill S879 (Sweeney) by a vote of 38 yay (with 2 not voting). This decision allows DuPont (now called “Chemours”) to sidestep hazardous waste standards at its Salem County, Chambers Works Hazardous Waste Facility. If this legislation becomes a law, Chemours will be allowed to operate its hazardous waste processing and discharge facility without meeting the requirements of the Clean Water Act. According to the group Clean Water Action (www.cleanwater.org/nj):
- This expansion would lead to more pollution in the Delaware River and Bay. The Chambers Works facility was identified under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) Toxics Resource Inventory as the largest discharger of hazardous waste in New Jersey for many years.
- Currently, they can only discharge waste generated on the site. This bill would allow the import of hazardous waste from all over, including wastewater from fracking.
- DuPont has a history of violations at the Chambers Works facility. For instance, in 2011 in a settlement agreement with USEPA, DuPont paid a $250,000 civil penalty to settle alleged violations of hazardous waste regulations at Chambers Works.
- DuPont’s attempt to bring VX Nerve Agent to the Chambers Works Facility for dumping into the Delaware River in 2004-2006 and similar extremely dangerous efforts could arise again if the facility is allowed this loophole.
Furthermore, Alyssa Bradley, Energy Organizer for Clean Water Action asserted, “Shame on the New Jersey Senate for passing a bill (S879) which will yet again make New Jersey the dumping ground for other people’s hazardous waste with a company who has total disregard for our public health and safety. We urge the Assembly to vote against this bill [A3116 (Burzichelli)], as well as the Governor, if it lands on his desk.”
Sherri Ruggieri is the managing editor of Empire State News. A practicing attorney for over 20 years, Ms. Ruggieri is also chairperson of Edison Township’s Planning Board. Additionally, she has served as a college professor, with nearly a decade of experience in teaching law and political science courses.
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