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June 22, 2015

Environmentalists form coalition to fight against 'dirty energy' in N.J.

Environment Green
032715_fracking3 Keith Srakocic/AP

In this photo made on Wednesday, July 27, 2011, a Pennsylvania worker stands on top of a storage bin as the dust of the powder used to make a mixture with water used in the hydraulic fracturing process billows above.

Environmentalists and other groups in New Jersey have joined forces to address the state's energy policies, NJ Spotlight reports.

Three dozen environmental, labor, religious and community groups have come together with hopes to replace what they refer to as dirty fossil fuels with cleaner sources of energy. They fear that the increases in pipelines, oil trains and reliance on natural gas are hurting efforts to curb greenhouse-gas emissions that contribute to global climate change.

"The fight against dirty energy has been one pipeline or one power plant at a time," Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, told NJ Spotlight. "We need to change that dynamic. If we want to stop pipelines, we have to stop fracking."

The energy sector relies on a much-criticized practice for extracting oil and natural gas (especially in the Northeast) that utilizes a technology known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. It involves injecting massive amounts of water into the ground along with some toxic chemicals to bring the fuels up to where they can be recovered.
The practice has led to new and cheaper supplies of natural gas for New Jersey residents and business, which have seen energy bills drop dramatically in recent years. It also has led to proposals to build new pipelines (up to a dozen by some counts) in the state to deliver the fuel to customers, many of which are bitterly opposed by environmental and local groups.

The coalition also fears that fracking and pipelines will jeopardize drinking water.

“Pipelines are a growing source of water pollution, air pollution, forest and wetland devastation,’’ Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, told NJ Spotlight. 

Read more from NJ Spotlight.