On Thursday, Oct. 16, the New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee will begin considering Gov. Chris Christie’s nomination of two members of the Pinelands Commission, the regulatory body tasked with protecting the environmentally sensitive Pinelands National Reserve. If the Committee eventually approves the nominations, they will go to the full Senate for approval.
The nominations are controversial because of a pipeline that New Jersey Gas has proposed, which would run through protected areas of the National Reserve. The pipeline was defeated in January, when the Pinelands Commission deadlocked 7-7 on the proposal. South Jersey Gas is now appealing that decision in state court. Pipeline opponents allege that Christie is attempting to appoint Commission members who will approve the pipeline if it’s reintroduced.
A coalition of environmental groups including the Preservation Alliance and the New Jersey Sierra Club are planning a rally on the Statehouse steps Thursday beginning at 11:30 a.m., calling on the Judiciary Committee to block the nominations.