The Memorandum of Agreement was voted down (tie vote, 7 to 7—they need a majority to pass) by the NJ Pinelands Commission at their meeting Friday morning, Jan. 10! Your letters and emails made a difference! Thank you to all who pitched in and all who worked so hard for so many months on this uphill battle that has been won! There may be an end run by South Jersey Gas but the MOA they needed was voted down so for now the Pinelands are saved – thanks to you and all those who fought this battle! http://bit.ly/1gVwp2u Guess what? The federal representative, Joe DiBello, voted NO - he was a deciding vote and people calling made it happen!
After months of working to bring the Pinelands Commission along, the public, led by New Jersey organizations dedicated to the Pinelands and protecting NJ's drinking water, rallied for a vote against the MOA over recent weeks. In December four former NJ Governors signed a letter asking the Commission not to approve the Pipeline. People took part in a Lobby Day Dec. 19 at the State House, asking Legislators to sign on to a letter opposing the Pipeline. Pressure built. The Pinelands Commission staff issued a recommendation advising the Commission members to vote to approve the MOA. The Commission vote was set for January 10.
Organizations flooded the federal representative to the Commission, with requests for a NO vote (Joe DiBello of the National Park Service, representing the US Dept. of the Interior) in the days leading up to the vote. To see DRN's alert go here: http://www.delawareriverkeeper.org/resources/Factsheets/Action%20Alert%20for%20website%20-%20Pinelans%20Pipeline%20vote%201.14.pdf
The New Jersey Pinelands Commission has issued a draft Memorandum of Agreement (“MOA”) between the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities ( “BPU”) and the New Jersey Pinelands Commission ("Pinelands Commission") that would authorize the construction of a 22-mile, 24-inch, high-pressure natural gas transmission through 15 miles of the Pinelands Forest Management Area. The pipeline is being proposed by South Jersey Gas and would transport fracked natural gas to the B.L. England Plant in Cape May County. The approval of the project would result in significant environmental impacts to the Pinelands as a result of destructive construction and maintenance activities, and also set a dangerous precedent for the way in which protected natural areas can be targeted for natural gas infrastructure development.
While the project itself sits outside the boundaries of the Delaware River watershed, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network is concerned about the precedent that approval will set, as well as the ecological damage that will be done.