SC Asks Gov. Murphy to Veto Pineland Commission Minutes
The NJ Sierra Club sent a letter to Governor Murphy asking him to use his authority to veto the Pinelands Commission January 10th Meeting Minutes. At that meeting, the Commission voted down a resolution Addressing the Remand of the South Jersey Gas Company Application Due to a Significant Change in Material Fact. On Friday, February 14th, the Pinelands Commission will approve the minutes from the January meeting. Governor Murphy has 10 days to accept or reject those minutes.
“The South Jersey gas pipeline approval was determined to be no longer in effect and the Pinelands Commission was ordered by the court to dispose of the proposal. But instead of rescinding the approval of the pipeline, the Commission actually voted down the resolution that would but a stay on it. This means the SJ gas pipeline still has all of its approvals, but the Pinelands Commission can no longer address these issues, which means it still stands. That is why Governor Murphy must veto the minutes of their January meeting. We would rather no meeting than a bad meeting,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “
South Jersey Gas plans were to build a pipeline that would go through the southern part of the Pinelands to connect into the B.L. England plant. Now that B.L. England will not be re-opened, the company continues to pursue the pipeline claiming it will improve system resiliency. In May, the Attorney General asked the Appellate Court to remand the South Jersey Gas pipeline case, Docket No. A-3310-16, back to the Pinelands Commission. The SJ Gas pipeline in the Pinelands was originally intended to repower the B.L. England plant. Owners of B.L. England have now closed the plant permanently, eliminating any need for the pipeline.
“The so-called purpose of the SJ Gas pipeline was to build a natural gas plant in Cape May, however now that B.L England is closing and will not repower with natural gas, there is no need for that pipeline. The decision made by the Pinelands Commission to vote down the resolution goes against the CMP and Attorney General Grewal’s letter vacating the approval of the SJ Gas pipeline and the remand from the court,” said Tittel. “The decision by the Commission also means SJ Gas would still be able to reapply or find another buyer for B.L England. The BPU approval of the SJ Gas pipeline is based on the Pineland’s approval so as long as the Pinelands Commission don’t rescind their approval, the BPU approval still stands. Our concern is that the SJ Gas proposal could come back.”
According to the SandPaper, a representative for the Pinelands Commission gave this statement: “The commission considered a resolution, which failed to gain the necessary votes for approval. We believe the matter is closed. Which means they will not take it up again. New Jersey Attorney General Grubir Grewal has already said that the SJ Gas pipeline does not meet the criteria for the Pinelands approval and has asked the Appellate Court to remand the South Jersey Gas pipeline case back to the Pinelands Commission for further action. The NJ Sierra Club also won its motion to remand the Pinelands Commission to reconsider its approval on SJ Gas.
“The SJG pipeline would not only destroy the Pinelands but also impact critical drinking water for millions of people. We ask that Governor Murphy protect the people and the environment over fossil fuel pipelines and veto the minutes of the Commission’s January meeting. It is better to have no resolution than a voted down resolution because then we can still work on rescinding the approval,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “As long as the pipeline still has its approvals, someone can come in and build a fossil fuel power plant or an LNG port. The Governor, the Attorney General, and the BPU need to intercede and do their job by rescinding their approval for the SJ Gas pipeline.”0211 Please Veto Pinelands Commission Meeting Minutes