Heartland Institute Reacts to N.J. Governor’s Fracking Moratorium

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) vetoed a permanent ban on a natural gas drilling method known as fracking, but imposed a one-year moratorium on the practice to study the issue.

Energy and environment experts at The Heartland Institute, who oppose Christie’s move, offer their statements below for attribution. For additional comments refer to the contact information below:

“Gov. Christie’s moratorium on the hydraulic fracturing of shale gas wells is a terribly unfortunate mistake for the nation and his state. We do not need a year of study, as we have been hydraulically fracturing oil wells for well over 50 years with no significant harm to any groundwater supplies or impact of any kind on the environment.

“Sadly the governor is pandering to environmental zealots who simply oppose inexpensive energy for the nation, which would allow us to move forward economically. It should be obvious that these people oppose coal, off-shore drilling for oil, or development of some 16 billion barrels of oil that could be extracted from a mere 2,000 acres of the 19.3 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. They favor only wind and solar for the obvious reason that they know those energy sources cannot move this nation forward – and not moving this nation forward is in fact their goal.

“Gov. Christie has played a very sensible environmental hand up to now, but caving to these people even for a year surely indicates a crack in what was previously an outstanding record of common sense for the citizens he serves. Jobs will be lost in New Jersey for years to come as a result of this decision.”

Jay Lehr
Science Director
The Heartland Institute

“The production of natural gas through hydraulic fracturing is turning a previously bleak domestic energy outlook into a very promising domestic energy outlook. It is unfortunate that the heavily Democrat New Jersey legislature and Republican Gov. Chris Christie are pandering to fear-mongering rather than the scientific facts. After extensive study of hydraulic fracturing production, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has never found a single instance of drinking water contamination from hydraulic fracturing.

“By pandering to environmental activist groups and their fear-mongering assertions, Christie and the New Jersey legislature are taking the lead in rendering yet another valuable domestic energy source off-limits for environmentally friendly production. Political decisions have consequences. The consequences of moratoria on natural gas production are higher energy prices and lost opportunities to create high-paying private-sector jobs.”

James M. Taylor
Senior Fellow for Environment Policy
The Heartland Institute

“Gov. Christie’s conditional veto of the hydraulic fracturing ban is considerably more prudent than the alternative, but is unnecessary given the state’s lack of development potential. This action has little, if any, policy significance and serves only to empower environmental activists in nearby states to prevent safe development of their own proven resources. It would be a mistake if other localities used the governor’s decision to rationalize taking similar actions within their borders.”

John Monaghan
Legislative Specialist for Environment Policy
The Heartland Institute

The Heartland Institute is a 27-year-old national nonprofit organization with offices in Chicago, Illinois; Washington, DC; Austin, Texas; Tallahassee, Florida; and Columbus, Ohio. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.