Pinelands Commission Approves the South Jersey Gas Pipeline project

Pinelands Commission Approves the South Jersey Gas Pipeline project, despite serious concerns from 4 former governors and the public

State Leadership Participates in Governor Christie’s Assault on the Earth,
Rather Than Protecting Us

At a time when most New Jerseyans are appalled at the direction of our federal government in terms of its devaluing of the environment, and when we hardly dare to open the paper to see what environmental protections President Trump is ruining next, we have hoped that our state elected officials, and the appointees they’ve put over the protection of our natural resources, would be particularly careful about making careless changes.

The vote of the Pinelands Commission to undo historic precedent of protection for the Forest Preservation area of the Pinelands, for the sake of blessing a new project by a natural gas company, is extremely troubling. It is simply not the time to make fast decisions to bless projects that move us backward instead of forward in terms of energy infrastructure and environmental protection.

It is not surprising that Governor Christie doesn’t care about environmental protection. We stopped counting on him to operate with concern for the environment years ago. The troubling part is that Democratic Senators, in particular, Steve Sweeney, is pushing a pro pipeline agenda. Senator Sweeney scheduled the date of a crucial vote concerning the appointment of Christie appointee Robert Barr, with very little notice, when a known “no” vote was out of town. The absent senator was replaced with Jeff Van Drew, who voted in favor of Barr, which allowed the confirmation to get out of committee and to a full vote where Barr was later confirmed. Commissioner Barr, as expected, voted in favor of the pipeline at the February 24th meeting.

In addition to the primary damage being done to the environment, the secondary damage is that Democrats who want to stay in power at all costs (and who feel they need the oil and gas industry support) are making decisions that they expect will be forgotten, or concealed, and that pave the way for maniacal decision making by Christie-appointed commissioners. These same Senators and Assembly members will then run future campaigns on a platform about how much concern they have for environmental protection. We cannot forget that their actions speak louder than words.

I encourage the Sierra Club and other environmental groups, to challenge this decision in court. Elect me in November and we’ll appoint new commissioners who care about environmental protection, and we'll work to undo the damages of Governor Christie and any elected officials, Democrat or Republican, who choose to put profit over the planet and people.

Seth Kaper-Dale
Green Party Candidate for Governor
The Last (which, with this Administration includes the Earth) shall be First