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Why Six Flags faces a lawsuit over a solar farm in N.J.

The lawsuit claims that Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, N.J., violates state law with its plans to cut nearly 19,000 trees to build a 90-acre solar farm.

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Addison Diehl, left, and China Anne McClain ride in a bumper car at the NFL Tweens/Juniors Father and Daughter Day at Six Flags Great Adventure in August 2014, in Jackson, New Jersey. The theme park faces a lawsuit now for plans to build a large solar power farm.

(Russ DeSantis/AP Images for NFL)

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Environmental groups have filed suit over a New Jersey theme park's plans to cut nearly 19,000 trees to build a 90-acre solar farm.

The four groups claim Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson is violating the state's municipal land use law. They say the plan would be harmful to the Barnegat Bay watershed.

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The groups say the amusement park's parking lot and buildings would be a more appropriate location for a solar farm.

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"Great Adventure's position that it must destroy the forest to combat climate change is illogical and uninformed," Janet Tauro, New Jersey board chair of Clean Water Action, said in a prepared statement.

"You don't kill the earth to save the earth. If a Jackson resident takes down a tree in their own backyard, they have to jump through hoops as the tree removal ordinance is so stringent," she added, "but Great Adventure plans to clear cut 18,000 trees and the application flies through like greased lightning."

Six Flags has said the facility would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 24 times what the undisturbed forest is capable of removing on its own. It has also pledged to replant nearly 26,000 trees reports that joining Clean Water Action in the lawsuit are the Crosswicks Creek-Doctors Creek Watershed Association, the New Jersey Conservation Foundation and Save Barnegat Bay. The groups say the solar facility could cause polluted runoff to reach waterways that feed into Barnegat Bay and the Delaware River. Six Flags, however, says state-mandated buffers and berms will provide sufficient protection.

A Six Flags Great Adventure spokeswoman told that the theme park does not comment on pending litigation. Attorneys representing Jackson Township and its Planning Board could not be reached for comment Monday.