PASCACK VALLEY COMMUNITY LIFE
Hillsdale has become the first town in Bergen County to adopt an anti-fracking ordinance, which prohibits the controversial natural gas mining procedure within the municipality.
While officials are not aware of any natural gas deposits in town, the ban is intended to send a message to state leaders and to encourage other municipalities to do the same, according to Councilman Larry Meyerson. The measure to ban the practice, known formally as hydraulic fracturing, was presented to the council by members of the Hillsdale Environmental Commission.
“This is a time when we should be making a statement through ordinances and resolutions regarding our environment. It’s no longer acceptable, in my view, to permit these kinds of activities and then allow environmental disasters… These are the types of statements that small governments, medium sized governments and large governments ought to be making to protect the public,” said Meyerson prior to the council’s 5-1 passage of the ordinance on June 10.
Efforts on the state level to ban fracking have not been successful. In January 2012, Governor Christie placed a one-year moratorium on fracking, which expired and has not been reinstated. The governor vetoed a bi-partisan bill in September 2012 that would have prohibited treatment and disposal of fracking waste within the state due to concerns it would violate an interstate commerce provision with Pennsylvania, which allows the practice. Last month, the state Senate voted 33-4 to advance a similar piece of legislation, whose primary sponsor was Senator Bob Gordon (D-Bergen). In order for the bill to reach Christie’s desk, the state Assembly needs to pass it.