Groups to rally for clean air and climate this month

Event will be sponsored by 51 organizations

The Pinelands Preservation Alliance and other members of Empower New Jersey will hold a march and rally for clean air and climate justice on June 23 at the war memorial in Trenton. Past protesters successfully brought about the end of a plan to build a gas pipeline in the Pinelands.

The Pinelands Preservation Alliance (PPA) and Empower New Jersey will join 50  co-sponsoring organizations on June 23 for a march and rally on clean air and climate justice at the Trenton war memorial’s Patriots Theater. 

The event comes as the PPA, a private citizen’s organization whose purpose is to preserve the Pine Barrens ecosystem, promotes public engagement in its preservation and advance acquisition of land and development rights by private and public conversion agencies. 

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Empower NJ’s mission is to enact a moratorium on all new or expansion fossil fuel projects in the Pinelands to protect the health of residents and prevent any additional increase in climate destroying greenhouse gasses (GHGs). 

Under a 2020 executive order from Gov. Phil Murphy, former Commissioner Catherine McCabe issues Administrative Order No. 1, which requires the state Department of Environmental Protection to begin regulatory reform that will help reduce GHG and other climate pollutant emissions, while making natural and built environments more resilient to climate change. 

According to PPA Public Lands Advocate Jason Howell, frustrated environmental groups will be at the rally. New Jersey has seven proposed fossil-fuel projects, including  the Regional Energy Access Expansion (REAE) pipeline, New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway expansion projects and Tennessee Gas Pipeline compressors.

As for the march and rally, PPA and the other 50 co-sponsorship organizations will voice their concerns about the urgent need to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources. Howell noted that the proposed fossil fuel plants are harmful to the environment and residents because of a gas that’s released called Particulate Matter (PM10)

“They’re releasing particulate matter, and that particulate matter spreads far and wide; it spreads for many miles,” Howell said. “That (PM10) lodges in our lungs, so the less of that we have around, the better for everybody.”

In addition to health concerns, the protesters will air their views on climate change that coincides with fossil fuels and other environmental factors in the state.

“I think we need to do what we can to keep our planet stable,” Howell noted, “and having a stable planet means that we can live pretty predictable and happy and comfortable lives.”

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