Is there a pipeline coming to your neighborhood soon?
The PennEast Pipeline is just one of eight pipeline projects proposed to run through New Jersey in the near future. New Jersey has had a long history of preservation and environmental stewardship, and it does not have many major pipelines running across the state. Through the Farmland Preservation Act, passed during the Christie Whitman administration, New Jersey set aside many acres of pristine farmland from development. Unwittingly, because of that act, we may now be vulnerable for fracking pipeline companies to run through virgin landscapes at a fraction of the cost. These pipelines will also cross our Delaware River, one of the longest, undammed rivers in the United States. Shale gas development is a bad idea, not just for New Jersey, but for the planet.
On Sept. 21, the Peoples Climate March of 400,000 protestors in New York City and the subsequent United Nations Conference on Climate Change, are highlighting the dangers that countries all over the world are already experiencing because of man-made climate change issues. Gas-related fuel industries lobby for more and more fossil fuel extraction, not for the consumption of the areas affected, but to send to other places, often other countries.
When considering whether you care about a pipeline, do not ask whether you personally want a 30- to 42-inch pipeline running through your backyard. The pipeline and its infrastructure will bring with it noxious compressor stations, noisy power plants and metering stations, risks of leaks and explosions. I doubt if any of us want that. Rather, ask the following larger questions: How important are clean air, water and soil to the earth? Is a healthy environment worthy of preserving for our children? If you have suffered from or know of anyone affected by Superstorm Sandy, ask: Can we avoid these ever more severe natural disasters? Do the benefits of extraction outweigh the costs? Are we not at a tipping point where we should be focusing on alternate sources of renewable energy? By extracting fossil fuels, we are contributing to the degradation, not only of beautiful state that we live in, but to the very earth we live on.