HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A last-minute tussle over eel fishing in Connecticut interfered briefly with legislation that overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives halting the storage and disposal of waste from gas exploration.
Lawmakers imposed a minimum three-year moratorium on importing waste from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The legislation requires the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to adopt regulations declaring waste and byproducts to be treated as hazardous waste.
The measure, which passed 128-19, also requires the industry to disclose the contents of waste and protect the environment from radioactive materials. It has passed the Senate and now heads to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
An environmental advocate accused a member of the House Republican minority of stalling passage of the legislation in exchange for a measure ending a ban on fishing eels in state waters.
Christopher Phelps, campaign director of Environment Connecticut, said Republican Rep. Craig Miner arranged a deal for successful passage of the eel legislation in exchange for halting his lengthy questioning.
"Connecticut House passes bill allowing fishery for threatened eel in return for ending filibuster on fracking waste bill? Seriously?" he tweeted.
Miner asked numerous questions as the House debated the measure. He sought clarifications on when wells may be drilled, trying to assure municipalities that geothermal, drinking water and other wells are not affected. A three-hour debate ensued.