Environmentalists are not happy about Six Flags’ clear-cutting 66 acres of trees to put up solar panels, some have even filed a lawsuit to stop it.
“Whatever the case, it’s investing in using green energy, which seems like a good thing,” Caren Chesler of Slate wrote in an article Monday, “But like other solar farm projects cropping up across the country, to go green by leveling trees is to view energy use in isolation from other environmental issues.”
In a proactive move to silence critics Six Flags must have seen coming, their communications manager, Kristin Siebeneicher, told Slate, “We are excited about the fact that this project will reduce carbon emissions by 31 times more than the trees and shrubs that will be removed,”
“We will become the world’s first solar-powered theme park,” Six Flags said in a statement released in March according to newsworks.org, “Clean energy is right for the environment and our future, and this project is a giant step toward becoming a net-zero carbon theme park.”
By chopping down nearly half of their total 134 acres in Jackson, Six Flags is looking to become the world’s first theme park run entirely on solar-power, but some residents of Jackson aren’t necessarily warming up to the idea of such a massive clear-cutting program in the name of ‘green’ energy.
“In my mind [Six Flags] Great Adventure has some of the most creative and skilled engineers on this planet.” resident of Jackson Debbie Hadley told NJ.com in a February interview, “And I can’t figure out why they don’t have the brainpower to figure out how to install solar panels on existing impervious structures.”
“We believe the plan as it stands today will not only harm the environment, but our neighborhood and our homes,” Marina Shapiro of the Jackson Citizens Coalition told NJ News 12 in March.
Prominent environmental group The Sierra Club has also come out against the deforestation plan, even going so far as to call Six Flags a “solar sell-out.” In a statement released in March The Sierra Club said: “This is a black eye for green energy. The Planning Board sold out the people and environment of Jackson by approving this solar clear-cut plan. We should not be destroying a forest for solar panels. This goes against the purpose of putting up solar array in the first place.”
The NJ Conservation Foundation (NJCF) has even filed a lawsuit to try and stop the project and thinks it is ‘absurd’: “Destroying 90 acres of forested habitat in the internationally renowned Pine Barrens is a bad idea on its face, but doing so under the guise of an environmentally beneficial project is absurd.” the policy director for the NJCF, Alison Mitchel told newsworks.org in a May interview.
Even former NJ Governor Jim Florio (1990-94) has come out in opposition: “The gratuitous cutting down of 18,000 trees is truly an abomination,” the former Governor told environmentnewjersey.org in April of 2015.
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