March 21, 2016
John M. Duffey
President and CEO
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation
924 Avenue J East
Grand Prairie, Texas 75050
Dear Mr. Duffey,
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation’s Statement on Ethics states that you are “committed to the principle of conducting business in a responsible, honest and ethical manner” and that “nothing less” than “the highest standards of business conduct” will do.
We, residents of Jackson, NJ, a host community for Six Flags Great Adventure and Hurricane Harbor, are joined by thousands of citizens from the Tri-State area and environmental groups Clean Water Action, Crosswicks Creek / Doctors Creek Watershed Association, Environment New Jersey, NJ Conservation Foundation, Save Barnegat Bay, and the Sierra Club in calling on you to honor these words in deed.
The Six Flags Great Adventure’s solar power plant plan, in partnership with KDC Solar, is seeking to deforest 70 acres of ecologically critical land contiguous with two wildlife preserves and the Pinelands National Reserve, an internationally significant UN Biosphere Reserve, in order to install solar arrays to power the park.
While we commend Great Adventure’s effort to ‘go green’, cutting down a healthy Pinelands forest is not the way to go about it. Great Adventure has plenty of room for the panels to be installed over its numerous buildings and four parking lots, including a 100-acre main lot.
There are many reasons why this land should remain undisturbed:
- It serves as water recharge area for the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer and holds headwaters to the Toms River and the Delaware River.
- The forest serves as a water, air and noise pollution buffer between the Six Flags parks and residences.
- It manages stormwater runoff far better than the turf grasses that are to be planted instead; the forest prevents water pollution, while the power plant will create it.
- If you go through with this plan, the populations of 13 Endangered, Protected and Of Concern wildlife species and roughly 1,500 common wildlife species with a habitat on the property will be virtually annihilated.
- Safari animals are likely to be adversely impacted by the construction process and replacement of woods by an industrial power plant.
- The trees that grow in that forest produce oxygen, absorb greenhouse gasses, and provide other environmental benefits that the solar panels can’t.
We are also concerned about the proximity of the solar site to our homes and the impact that this power plant and its infrastructure will have on our quality of life, as the effects of such large-scale installations on human health have not been studied.
Specifically, we are concerned with:
- Stormwater runoff increase (as much as 1200%), changes to the water table impacting our pools, wells and septic systems, and flooding of our yards and homes;
- Increased risk of fire: the site doesn’t have the 100’ of defensible space around the perimeter as advised by the Forest Fire Service and surrounding pine forest is considered highly flammable;
- The panels slated for installation do not pass TCLP (toxic leaching test), most notably for lead, and are not RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) compliant – KDC Solar is doing you and Jackson Township a disservice by using poor quality panels when good ones are available.
These and other concerns are outlined in greater detail on our website, www.JacksonCitizens.com.
We understand that the plan to clear-cut a forest instead of building on already-developed land was a business decision, but we are asking you to reconsider it using your Ethics Statement as a compass.
Please do the right thing—put solar panels over the parking lot!