Just last night, environmentalists in New Jersey learned of a victory. RC Cape May Holdings issued a statement saying they are abandoning plans to retrofit the BL England Plant. For the better part of a decade environmentalists have fought construction of a pipeline through the highly protected Pinelands Reserve.
A long fight
The Pinelands Commission denied the application years ago. After commission stacking, by then governor Chris Christie, The Pinelands Commission ultimately approved the pipeline. Activists across the state had been fighting this destructive pipeline for years and now are taking the win in stride.
Activists warily celebrate
“The decision to close the BL England power plant and stop the proposed NG Pipeline is a victory for the Pinelands, the people of New Jersey and the planet. We must remain vigilant, however, against the many pipeline projects still waiting approval” said Diane Moxley former Green Party Congressional Candidate and activist with Extinction Rebellion.
Jocelyn Sawyer, an organizer with Food and Water Watch, issued the following statement,
“This stunning news is a triumph for the residents and community groups across New Jersey that have fought to protect New Jersey’s beloved Pinelands. In truth, this project should never have gotten this far; former Governor Chris Christie rigged the Pinelands Commission in order to get the vote he wanted for his fossil fuel cronies.
Now it is time for Governor Murphy to further correct the damage done by the Christie administration by pushing the Senate to confirm new Pinelands Commissioners who will protect New Jersey’s most important environmental treasure.”
Activists are not letting their guard down even in the wake of this victory. South Jersey Gas still may plan to construct a pipeline through the reserve. Some activists have long speculated re-powering the BL England plant was never the end game. The proposed pipeline was capable of carrying more fracked natural gas than this plant could have utilized. Suspicion abounds in environmental circles.
Where is Governor Murphy?
Environmental groups urge Murphy to put a moratorium on all new pipeline construction in NJ. Pipelines construction doesn’t fit in with his plan of 50% renewables by 2035. They certainly don’t fit with the much stronger goal of 100% renewables by 2035. Many scientists say is required to prevent the worst of catastrophic climate change.
We will be following this story closely here at NJRR. The next Pinelands Commission meeting is in the beginning of March.