I just learned that the Governor vetoed the Ban on Fracking waste, citing that it was unconstitutional under the commerce laws. To date, there are no guidelines for fracking waste, but what we do know is that it contains many more toxins than would normally be allowed by the EPA – except the fracking industry has gotten an exemption from EPA water standards. We also know that if the waste is not classified as toxic waste, it will be treated as normal wastewater, possibly dumping chemicals into the waterways and water tables. I happen to live in an area of New Jersey that still has well water. I have to test the well water regularly. Some fear that toxins left in the ground by industry generations ago can still be leaching into the water table. When will we learn, and when will we be able to foster a government that understands its need to protect its citizens?
What comes to mind, whether it be fracking waste, or a Citizens United decision, is that even though something is deemed legal or constitutional, it does not make it necessarily ethically or or morally right. As Unitarian Universalists, we have a deep responsibility to be good stewards of the earth. We are compelled to act when we can, to protect this very important source of life.
We are also compelled to openly, courageously and with respect and compassion, raise the moral and ethical questions that are often overlooked when laws are made. This is the role of UULMNJ as representative of a faith community. And it is the role of every Unitarian Universalist in New Jersey. Everyone needs to express his/her voice. The more UU voices that are heard, the more power we have in addressing the legal, but not so ethical matters of state.
We will be discussing this and other matters in greater detail at our Fall Issues Conference on Saturday, October 20, in Ridgewood. Registration information is below. PLEASE take time from you busy schedule to join is in the discussion. This is very important.
Rev. Craig Hirshberg