Four former governors come out against pipeline through Pinelands

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UPPER TOWNSHIP – In a letter to Pinelands Commission chairman Mark Lohbauer Wednesday, four former New Jersey governors came out against a pending proposal to build a natural gas pipeline through the Pinelands.

The Pinelands Commission is considering a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the state Board of Public Utilities (BPU) that would allow South Jersey Gas to build the pipeline. The Pinelands Commission would receive $8 million for land acquisition and education programs.

 

Former governors Brenda T. Byrne, Jim Florio, Thomas H. Kean and Christine Todd Whitman said they oppose the pipeline because it would “compromise the Pinelands plan and serve to encourage future development contrary to the vision the plan sets out for growth and conservation in the Pinelands.”

The governors said the Pinelands plan will only work if it is implemented consistently. Only then will utility companies change their plans to comply with the Pinelands, according to the letter.

 The state Board of Public Utilities (BPU) is holding a public meeting on the proposed natural gas pipeline to the BL England power plant in Beesleys Point today, Wednesday, Dec. 18. The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the Upper Township Branch Municipal Building on Route 631 in Petersburg. It is the third public meeting on the pipeline proposal in little over a week.

Officials expect a decision on the controversial pipeline next month. The New Jersey Pinelands Commission has to approve the $90 million project by South Jersey Gas because around 15 miles of the pipeline would pass through protected Pinelands areas.

 

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