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Governor Vetoes Pinelands Minutes Part of New Push for Pipeline


Date : Wed, 9 Apr 2014 13:36:55 -0400

For Immediate Release

April 9, 2014

Contact Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100

Governor Vetoes Pinelands Minutes Part of New Push for Pipeline

The Governor Christie vetoed the minutes from the March 14th Pinelands Commission meeting. This is the first time ever a Governor vetoed the minutes from a Pinelands Commission meeting, meaning the meeting never took place. Therefore through the veto the Governor blocked the Pinelands Commission staff from getting a 5% raise. New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel released the following statement:

"The Governor vetoed the Pinelands Commission meeting, which no Governor has ever vetoed their minutes before. This is the Governor trying to intimidate the Pinelands Commissioners and staff in retribution for the vote against the Pinelands pipeline. The Commissioners have done their job not only in protecting the Pinelands, but in giving their staff a well deserved raise. We believe the Governor vetoed these minutes to get back at the Pinelands Commission for being independent of the Governor's demands and the rejection of the South Jersey Natural Gas pipeline through the Pinelands. The Pinelands staff has always worked very hard and has done their job in a professional manner. Sometimes their work is difficult, but more importantly they are understaffed. They are down by about a third from where they should be. Currently there are 23 unfilled staff positions and with 44 on staff requiring them to do more with less. The Pinelands professional staff is not as well paid as people doing the same work at the DEP or other agencies. These employees should not be penalized by the Governor for doing their job of protecting the Pinelands."

"We are concerned that this is part of an attempt by Governor Christie to rein in the Pinelands Commission and get rid of their independence. This is not only a penalty to the staff, but it is sending a message to the Commissioners. We are troubled by this veto because we think this is part of an ongoing tactic to pressure the Commission to now approve the pipeline. Whether, it is for a revote on the MOA or to give the pipeline a waiver of strict compliance. We believe this is part of the ongoing campaign by the Governor, Senator Van Drew and others to push the Pinelands Commission to approve the natural gas pipeline through the Pinelands. This pipeline would keep the BL England plant running, bringing more water, superheated water, and air pollution to the region. In a lawsuit BL England is being represented by Wolf and Samson, the law firm of David Samson who is a very close political ally of the Governor."

"The pipeline violates the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan and would be the largest producer of greenhouse gasses in this area of South Jersey. This pipeline will promote fracking, pollution, and could be used for offshore LNG. The proposed pipeline did not serve the needs of the Pinelands. Instead it would promote water pollution from fracking and cooling towers, air pollution from power plants, while creating irreversible harm to wetlands, streams, and damaging important open spaces. Instead of pushing for a destructive pipeline and a fossil fuel plant, Governor Christie should be working to make wind a reality off our coast. The BL England could be turned into a base site for offshore wind construction and maintenance. Unfortunately Governor Christie would rather appease the Koch Brothers and Right Wing at the expense of clean air and clean water for New Jersey residents. This is part of the Governor's continue abuse of power and bullying just like with the GW Bridge scandal, Sandy recovery, and false attacks on Pinelands Commissioner Ed Lloyd. This shows again if you go against the Christie Administration you will be penalized," said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

-- 
Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator
New Jersey Sierra Club
145 W. Hanover Street
Trenton, NJ 08618
609-656-7612
-- 
Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator
New Jersey Sierra Club
145 W. Hanover Street
Trenton, NJ 08618
609-656-7612
Received on 2014-04-09 10:36:55

New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
tel: 609 656 7612, fax 609 656 7618
or email Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator, at nicole.dallara@sierraclub.org

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