By Richard Fetzer
Imagine this, if you will: a green forest with streams, plants and an array of animal life. This place has paths and trails for visitors to follow in order to truly enjoy this natural beauty, and escape from stuffy offices and overcrowded highways. The sound of the flowing water, scent of natural wildflowers and fluttering of butterflies calms the stressed suburban dweller. It is the escape from the artificial word to a natural one that, for some, seems unimaginable.
Now imagine this beautiful oasis being scarred by bulldozers digging a big ditch for the flowing of natural gas through big pipes. This is not a made up place or a made up scenario. This is what may happen to the Ramapo Reservation at the hands of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline.
The proposed new line by Tennessee Gas Pipeline means big change for North Jersey residents. The plan is to upgrade an existing line by adding five 30-inch pipeline loops and modifying four existing compression stations, according to www.tennesseeadvantage.com. This project will cost $400 million and will cover 7.7 miles and will run from West Milford to the Ramapo Reservation in Mahwah.
According to a northjersey.com article on January 25, Jeff Tittel, state director of the Sierra Club, said that the proposed compensation for the destruction of preserved lands is “unsatisfactory.” His words may stand true for residents of Mahwah, as well as North Jersey in general.
“The Ramapo Reservation is unique and irreplaceable,” he said. “This park contains the most environmentally sensitive areas in Bergan County and we must not lose these lands to unnecessary polluting fossil fuel projects. This is like putting a pipeline through our Yellowstone or our Yosemite.”
Something needs to be done to prevent this pipeline from destroying an irreplaceable natural landmark in our community. Everyone who feels that scarring the Ramapo Reservation with yet another environmental pollutant is wrong needs to stand up and use their voice to say “No!” The destruction of our dwindling natural escapes is not okay and should not be permitted to go on.
So, please, find the opportunity to go to a town hall meeting and use your voice to help save the Ramapo Reservation. So often we do not value how precious something is until it is gone.