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Opposition to Six Flags Solar Farm Mount

The Sierra Club and New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection have joined in the opposition over the location where Six Flags Amusement Park recently announced it is considering building a solar farm.  To build the solar farm, Six Flags would need to cut down thousands of trees that currently dot the landscape. 

“We support solar and want to see large-scale solar projects go forward, but we are concerned the Six Flags project will harm the environment and the solar market,” New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel said.

Deforestation is also one of the reasons the State DEP has offered to purchase the property from Six Flags.  Add to this the fact that the property is adjacent to Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area and is home to barrel owls and the northern pine snake, which are protected native species.

“The state steadfastly supports renewable energy. However, the [DEP] supports only projects that are consistent with our mission to protect and preserve New Jersey’s air, land, water and natural and historic resources,” DEP Assistant Commissioner Richard Boornazian wrote in the letter to Six Flags Entertainment Corp. President Jim Reid-Anderson.

The letter from Boornazian alludes to Six Flags owning other property on which the solar farm could be built.

“We have consistently held that any solar project should be sited on existing buildings, parking lots, remediated brownfields, properly closed landfills or other previously developed land in order to limit environmental impacts,” Boornazian wrote. “We oppose large solar projects that damage or destroy previously undisturbed natural resources.”

The Sierra Club asserted that the Six Flags project would have a catastrophic impact on the solar energy market.

“The problems with the Six Flags solar project are more than environmental. It not only violates nature, but also many [New Jersey Board of Public Utilities] regulations and orders,” Tittel said.

“One of the biggest problems with this project is that it will not only destroy a forest, but it could crash the solar market. The BPU has gone to great lengths to let the project go around the agency’s regulations.”

“The BPU is playing a game of Twister with their own rules to allow the project to go forward,” he said.

Tittel said the Sierra Club intends to file a lawsuit to stop the conditional use variance that was granted by the Jackson Planning Board to Six Flags.

“We believe in generating electricity from solar because it is important to support clean energy, but it should not be done at the expense of the environment,” Tittel said. “We are glad Six Flags wants to do solar, but they should not use green energy at the expense of a green environment.”