Compromise Coming in NJ Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing?

New Jersey Democrats in the state legislature are turning up the heat on Republican Gov. Chris Christie to sign a bill recently passed by both houses that would institute an outright ban on hydraulic fracturing. The NJ Senate passed the bill by a vote of 33-1, and the NJ Assembly vote was 58-11. So far, Christie has not commented on the legislation and has not indicated which way he leans.

If signed into law, NJ would have the dubious honor of being the first state to ban hydraulic fracturing, a mostly moot point as there is very little shale beneath the state worth fracking for natural gas—just a tiny portion in the northwest corner.

Will he or won’t he sign it? We may have an indication of a compromise in the works.

…a key Republican senator signaled the Christie administration may go along with instituting a five-year moratorium instead.

Christie can veto the approved bills or, with additional legislative review, he can change their terms with a conditional veto.

Sen. Joseph Kyrillos, R-Monmouth, one of Christie’s closest advisers, during Wednesday’s voting session offered a hostile amendment — tabled by Democrats — to hold off on drilling only until 2016.

Kyrillos conceded fracking in its current form is a risky environmental bet but said a moratorium would allow time to "let the science and engineering to see what it can do" to improve the drilling process.*

*Courier-Post (Jul 4, 2011) – N.J. may compromise on fracking regulation