DuPont Dirty Water Bill Goes to Governor’s Desk

DuPont Dirty Water Bill Goes to Governor’s Desk

The Assembly has passed S879 (Sweeney)/A3116 (Burzichelli) by a vote of 69-2-0. It amends definition of “existing major hazardous waste facility” in “Major Hazardous Waste Facilities Siting Act.” The bill would allow Chemours and their leasees, such as DuPont, to import hazardous waste from all over. This would expand the volume of waste and would expand the variety of categories of hazardous materials. 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.  In 2010, for instance, DuPont was the biggest polluter in New Jersey and the 4th biggest polluter in the country. This bill has already passed the Senate and now goes to Governor Murphy.

“Today the Legislature has sided with corporate polluters over clean water. This dirty water bill has passed both Houses and heads to the Governor’s desk. This bill will put more pollution into the Delaware because it creates a loophole that redefines a hazardous waste facility, allowing them to dump toxic chemicals. This is a dangerous bill because it will allow the DuPont facility to bring in more and different hazardous waste to be treated in New Jersey. It caters to special interests over protecting the environment and communities of New Jersey. We could see more pollution in the Delaware River and Bay because of this bill and that’s why we oppose it,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “This bill will open the environment, the public and the Delaware River to pollution and safety risks. We need Governor Murphy to stand up for clean water and the environment by vetoing this bill.”

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. The Chambers Works Facility has never conducted an anti-degradation analysis for the release of treated wastewater or any analysis on the bioaccumulation of toxins in the ecosystem and, if allowed this loophole, wouldn’t have to do an analysis showing there is no significant adverse impact on the environment and public health from the discharge of hazardous pollutants there. 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.

“The proposed legislation creates a loophole that redefines a hazardous waste facility so that Chambers Works can get away with handling more and different types of hazardous waste. In the case of a flood or accident, this toxic witch’s brew could spill into our communities. 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 unless the DRBC bans its import. It would allow them to use old, outdated permits to pollute more. This bill caters to the special interests over the people and environment of New Jersey.” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

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