Panel rejects South Jersey Gas pipeline for the Pinelands

 A frozen lake in New Jersey's Pinelands. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

A frozen lake in New Jersey's Pinelands. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

Officials have rejected a plan to build a natural gas pipeline through New Jersey’s Pinelands, and the company behind the project isn’t sure what its next move will be.

South Jersey Gas wants to build a 22-mile pipeline to connect with a power plant that’s switching from coal to natural gas.

The pipeline would run through the Pinelands, which are protected by state and federal law. The idea is pitting business and labor unions against environmentalists.

The proposal was rejected Friday by the New Jersey Pinelands Commission, which fell one vote short of approving it. The commission is tasked with protecting the ecologically fragile region while supervising responsible economic development within it.

Gas company spokesman Dan Lockwood says it is considering its options.

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