Reps. Kim and Van Drew Lead Bipartisan Effort to Fill Vacancy on New Jersey Pinelands Commission
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03) and Congressman Jefferson Van Drew (NJ-02) sent a bipartisan letter to Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, asking the Secretary to, “promptly fill the federal vacancy on the New Jersey Pinelands Commission.”
In addition to Congressmen Kim and Van Drew, the letter is signed by Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04), Congressman Frank Pallone (NJ-06), Congressman Albio Sires (NJ-08), Congressman Bill Pascrell (NJ-09), Congressman Donald Payne Jr. (NJ-10), Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) and Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12).
The full letter can be found by clicking here.
The New Jersey Pinelands Commission was founded in 1979 by the State of New Jersey to protect the Pinelands following the establishment of the Pinelands National Reserve by Congress in 1978. By state law, the Pinelands Commission is a 15-member board that consists of seven members appointed by the New Jersey Governor, seven county representatives, and one federal representative appointed by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior.
In their letter to Secretary Haaland, the members cite the fact that, “Since March 2017, the Pinelands Commission has not had a federally appointed board member.” They go on to mention that, “Filling this seat is vitally important for the New Jersey Pinelands Commission to fulfill its mission to “preserve, protect, and enhance the natural and cultural resources of the Pinelands National Reserve, and to encourage compatible economic and other human activities consistent with that purpose.”
“The U.S. Department of the Interior has been a key partner in the Pinelands protection movement from the very beginning,” said Carleton Montgomery, Executive Director of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance. “So it is very important to fill the position on the Pinelands Commission that is reserved for the Secretary of the Interior’s designee. It is equally important that the Secretary choose a person who brings the knowledge and commitment it takes to meet challenges like climate change and fulfill the Commission’s conservation mission.”
The Pinelands National Reserve spans 1.1 million acres, covers 22 percent of New Jersey, and is home to 500,000 New Jersey residents, 850 species of plants, and 397 species of animals, including 43 threatened or endangered species. Additional information about the Pinelands National Reserve can be found by clicking here.