2117 Bay Avenue
609 398 1934
September 7, 2013
Our beautiful Pine Barrens are under assault and it is happening at the speed of light. Republican Gov. Christie, and Democrat Party Boss Norcross are smacking their lips with the thought of a monster gas pipeline – 24 inches diameter- piercing the heart of the forest bringing fracked gas from Pa to the BL England plant in Beesley’s Point and beyond. A perfect example of bipartisan cooperation!
Like a poisonous snake with its fanged mouth starting at the Marcellus Shales in Pa, spitting its 660+ Halliburton chemicals, under high pressure fracturing the earth below, to release gas. A grave wound to the earth and the drinking water for humans and animals. Vice President Cheney, while taking time off from hunting quail, made sure that none of the public should be allowed to know the names and side effects of these chemicals – for our own sake of course!! Too risky!
The snake’s body twists and turns and passes through Millville on Union Road for its 22 mile journey through the Pinelands to its end destination BL England. Its pathway is under 2 creeks, 2 ponds, Tuckahoe River; reaching an average depth of 60 feet. Then along the shoulder of the roads the snake will complete its journey. For a radius of a football field on either side of the pipe there is definite damage to eco-systems, and the people who live there are also at risk. A fire station and EMT unit is within 25 feet of this snake. With fires being part of the natural cycle of the Pinelands this 8-segmented snake poses a grave risk.
South Jersey Gas is using as its front man the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) in order to line up the permits required for this Corporate Coup. The only obstacle that stands between the snake and this UNESCO site is a permit (MOA), from the Pinelands Commission. It’s the last hurdle before the tail of the snake will be operating 24/7, creating noise, pollution (emitting Ultrafine Particles whose health risks are yet to be learned), and millions of $$$$$$ for South Jersey Gas. The losers are the 1.1 million Acre Pinelands replete with plants, flowers and animals that cannot be replaced; the 17 trillion gallon aquifer beneath, and all of us suckers who have nothing to gain.
Who can stop this insane and greedy plan; only the Pinelands Commission led by Mark Lohbauer and ultimately the Governor! Who is the enabler in this Coup, the Executive Director of the staff of the Commission- Nancy Wittenberg! She has facilitated one-on-one meetings with representatives of the Gas Company and BPU, and she has denied a presentation by the most important scientist who could educate the Commission and the public about the impact of the pipeline.
In her response to a request to have an internationally respected expert give a 30-minute free presentation to the Commission on the effects of horizontal drilling on habitats she said the information is not “within the Commission’s jurisdiction”. If the goal of her office is to Protect, Preserve and Enhance the Pinelands. She needs to get a new job description, or a new job.
The Management Plan (CMP) that the Commissioners are sworn to uphold only allows a government entity to apply for a major project in the Pinelands, thus the BPU is fronting the gas company. The CMP also requires that any new infrastructure must benefit the Pinelands alone. Only members of the public can rally to support the Commissioners in the eye of such political and corporate pressure to preserve what little is left in Nature in this great state of New Jersey.
Steven Fenichel, MD