The Unitarian Universalist Association describes environmental justice in the following manner. "The Seventh Principle of Unitarian Universalism (UUism) calls us to affirm and promote "respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part." More than just a recognition of ecological interdependency, our seventh principle calls us to recognize that human beings are part of this mutuality. Too often the "environmental movement" and the "racial/economic justice movement" have been seen as competing with each other. Environmental justice is the recognition that the same paradigm of dominion that has led to global warming also reinforces economic and racial inequities. Only by seeking solutions that address both can we solve either."
A priority of the Environmental Justice Task Force has been opposition to a coal-fired energy plant and carbon dioxide storage project called PurGen, proposed by a small Massachusetts firm, to be located in Linden, New Jersey.
The PurGen plant would process coal for energy and send the carbon dioxide waste through a 100-mile pipeline under the Raritan Bay, injecting it into "permanent storage" underneath the seabed off Atlantic City. This process, carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), is new and the very few results have been mixed.
This is in one of the most densely populated areas of the country, in a community that is already designated an "Environmental Justice Community" because of extreme environmental stress resulting from earlier polluting facilities.
Building this plant undermines the potential for refocusing our energy industry on renewable sources rather than continuing to emphasize the use of fossil fuels. Building a coal plant that sequesters carbon dioxide does nothing to lessen the public-health and environmental impact of coal extraction. The jobs created by this plant could just as easily be created by building cleaner energy sources, which would help New Jersey maintain our leadership position in renewable energy development and use.
The task force joined the StopPurGen Coalition in an effort to join our voices with others who oppose this plant.