Sierra Club: Christie Stacks Pinelands Commission: Nominates McGlinchey

Christie Stacks Pinelands Commission: Nominates McGlinchey
Governor Christie has nominated Edward J. McGlinchey to the Pinelands Commission. The Pinelands Commission makes decisions pertaining to the Pinelands ecosystem in south Jersey. They have the power to approve or reject applications for development in the Pines, including pipelines. Currently, the NJ Sierra Club is fighting two different pipeline approvals by the Commission: South Jersey Gas pipeline and New Jersey Natural Gas’s Southern Reliability Link pipeline. Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, released the following statement:
“Christie is continuing to stack the Commission with his pro-development cronies before Governor-Elect Phil Murphy has a chance to make his nominations. This time it’s Edward McGlinchey who, in 2010, was appointed as Camden County’s representative to the Commission. While there he voted to approve the South Jersey Gas Pipeline. Not only is this a bad choice, but it shouldn’t have happened at all. Phil Murphy, as Governor-Elect, should have the ability to make appointments to fill the positions. We don’t even know whose place McGlinchey is taking. It could very well be one of the members who voted against the pipeline. We are urging Democrats to oppose this nomination so that Phil Murphy can make his own appointments in January.
“We’re sure that McGlinchey will join the rest of Christie’s puppets that vote for projects that threaten the environment, drinking water and communities in the Pines. Stacking the Commission members is part of the Administration’s attack on the Pinelands. This has been a death by a thousand cuts including the Governor’s attempt to push through two pipelines, extend sewers in environmentally sensitive areas, and build soccer fields on the preserved farms of the Pinelands.
“We believe Edward McGlinchey is being put there for political purposes to weaken the Pinelands Commission. He is part of Governor Christie ongoing vendetta not only take over the Pinelands Commission and remove Commissioners who support the Pinelands, but to rubberstamp development. With this appointment, Christie has clearly selected a candidate who is more politically connected and in tune to his plans to weaken the Pinelands.
“Christie has always played games with the Pinelands. He dumped Mark Lohbauer as chair of the Pinelands Commission for political payback, and before that he replaced Robert Jackson who voted against the South Jersey Gas Pipeline for Robert Barr, who was a political crony. The Governor has continued his attack against anyone with an independent voice and independent action. This is another dirty political deal by the Governor to replace someone who cares about the environment with his puppet.
“The Christie Administration has been attacking the Pinelands, since day one. The Governor has been removing people who want to protect the Pinelands from positions of power in the Pinelands Committee. He is supporting the South Jersey Gas Pipeline that will keep the unnecessary BL England Plant alive and allow it to continue polluting the area. The Christie Administration has proposed rollbacks of important water protections and passed legislation that will allow more development on sensitive land in the Pinelands. They have allowed for more sewers, turf fields and pipelines as they target the Pinelands for development.
“The Pinelands are a UN biosphere reserve and one of the largest sources of fresh drinking water on the east coast. With 17 trillion gallons of pure water in the Pinelands aquifer, the potential for leakage of pipes, or fire from a pipeline could be devastating. Pinelands Commission members should be working towards protecting the environmentally sensitive ecosystems in the Pines, not approving dirty pipelines to destroy them.
“This is the biggest threat to the Pinelands in its history. The Governor is trying to undo 40 years of Pinelands protections. With this move today, the Pinelands are at risk all over again. Christie is continuing his attempt to control the Pinelands Commission. He wants to push through pipelines and other dirty infrastructure to further his own political ambition. What’s happening in the Pines is dirtier than Bridgegate. He wants to pave over the Pines and will get rid of anyone who stands in his way. This is a shameful move on his part and will only hurt New Jersey and our Pinelands. Now we have to fight to protect the Pines all over again.”

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