With Our Own Hands

Sometimes, we need to take matters into our own hands; in the garden, in life, and in politics. After eight years of banging my head against the brick wall of indifference and hostility towards conservation and environmental issues at the Environmental Commission and Land Use Board level, I’m raising the bar.

I’ve thrown my hat in the ring for elected office --- our Township Committee. With luck and hard work, I’m hoping that our town will never be the same again. Andover Township, located in northwestern New Jersey has a uniquely sensitive environment. So sensitive that The Nature Conservancy has purchased several parcels, some of which are home to species found in only four other places on the planet.

The town lies in two distinct physiographic provinces --- the Highlands and Valley and Ridge. The latter includes the Great Limestone Valley, home to plants and animals unique to limestone fens and a major aquifer. Since most of the private and “public” water in our town comes from wells, you would think people here would guard this precious resource with their lives.

Yet, a previous administration allowed a sewer plant (shown above) to be sited on top of the aquifer that feeds thousands of homes in many towns in our region. Several proponents have tried to convince me that the water coming out of today’s state-of-the-art purification systems is cleaner than a natural stream. Yet, none of these people has ever taken me up on my request to watch them drink that super-clean water straight from a sewer plant. When they drink it, I’ll believe it.

Fortunately for us, Nature herself stepped in and provided a solution. For now.

A number of wells and ponds in Andover are hydraulically connected to the aquifer. We found this out in 2005, when a nearby quarry stopped pumping 8 million gallons of water a day out of the quarry pit. The water table rose by 35 feet. Ponds that had disappeared were restored; water surrounded the sewer plant. Imagine the disaster that we would have had, if the sewer plant had been operational. But the looming shell still sits there, waiting for an opportunity.

Now, the adjacent town intends to allow a private company to pump 2 billion (that’s billion with a “b”) gallons per day to line their pockets with cash. Playing with people’s lives this way is immoral. I can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch my neighbors twitch and tremble as their lives are manipulated by those who care only about themselves. I’m taking matters into my own hands.
You can see my campaign blog at http://www.voteforloisdevries.blogspot.com

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