Pinelands Commission

New Lisbon, NJ, United States

Pinelands Commission

New Lisbon, NJ, United States
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News Article | February 24, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Opponents of a proposed natural gas line that would run through New Jersey's federally protected Pinelands reserve gather outside a hotel in Cherry Hill N.J., Friday Feb. 24, 2017 before a Pinelands Commission meeting at which the proposal was to be voted on. The pipeline has become one of the most hotly contested jobs vs. environment clashes in recent New Jersey history. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry) CHERRY HILL, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey environmental regulators on Friday approved a hotly contested plan to run a natural gas pipeline through a federally protected forest preserve amid raucous protests that included drums, tambourines and choruses of "This Land Is Your Land." The 15-member New Jersey Pinelands Commission voted to approve a plan by South Jersey Gas to run the pipeline through the federally protected Pinelands preserve, where development is drastically restricted. The protesters' loud ruckus drowned out the members, even as they voted nine in favor and five against, with one abstention. It was the most emotionally charged jobs-vs-environment clash in recent New Jersey history, and was closely watched by environmental and energy groups around the nation, particularly with a new presidential administration seen as more supportive of the energy industry. "As a priest, I will pray for you when you stand before the throne of God and you are asked to give an accounting of your stewardship of this special ecological area," said Rev. David Stump, a Catholic priest from Jersey City. "May God have mercy on your souls." "Your legacy is disgraceful!" added Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. The company said the vote "recognizes the energy reliability challenges facing southern New Jersey and the balanced solution this project offers. The careful construction of this pipeline will address the energy demands of 142,000 customers in Cape May and Atlantic counties, protect and create jobs, and provide a meaningful opportunity to significantly reduce air emissions." The B.L. England power plant, where the pipeline would end, currently burns coal and oil to generate electricity. "The use of natural gas and state-of-the-art emissions control technology, together, can turn the facility into a cleaner and more efficient generator of electricity for the people of south Jersey," RC Cape May Holdings, the plant's owners, said in a statement after the vote. Protesters repeatedly disrupted the meeting, chanting "No! No! No!" for nearly 10 minutes when the commission was about to vote. They burst into song in protest whenever a commissioner voted in favor of the plan. After the plan was approved, they chanted, "Shame on you!" and "See you in court!" Pipeline supporters including construction workers, though greatly outnumbered, chanted "USA! USA!" Tittel said his and other environmental groups plan to challenge the approval in court on numerous procedural and factual grounds, hoping to delay it long enough for New Jersey's next governor to appoint Pinelands commissioners that will reverse the decision. Republican Gov. Chris Christie's successor will be elected in November. The 22-mile pipeline plan was narrowly defeated in 2014. But since then, Christie has replaced several Pinelands commissioners with supporters of the pipeline. Carleton Montgomery, executive director of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance, called the vote "a symptom of what's going on nationally" regarding pipeline projects. South Jersey Gas plans to run the pipeline mostly under or alongside existing roads. The company says it already operates over 1,400 miles of gas mains and 133 miles of elevated pressure lines within the Pinelands without harming the environment. After the proposal was defeated in 2014, the executive director of the Pinelands Commission unilaterally decided that it met the agency's criteria and was therefore approved. Environmentalists sued, and a court ordered the commission to take a new vote. Environmental groups fear the pipeline will harm the fragile Pinelands and set a bad precedent for future development. They say it will cause a loss of habitat and increase runoff and erosion in an area that is home to an aquifer that is estimated to hold 17 trillion gallons of some of the nation's purest water. South Jersey Gas maintains that in addition to providing a cleaner fuel source to the power plant, the new pipeline would provide a second transmission vehicle for natural gas to customers in the two southern New Jersey counties. Currently, only one pipeline takes gas to nearly 29,000 homes and businesses, which could be left out in the cold without a second way of getting gas to their homes if the existing pipeline fails.


News Article | February 24, 2017
Site: hosted2.ap.org

(AP) — About 500 people filled a hotel ballroom Friday as New Jersey regulators prepared to vote on whether a natural gas pipeline should run through the state's federally protected Pinelands region, which includes more than a million acres of farms, forests and wetlands. The Pinelands Commission was expected to make a final determination Friday on the proposal that has touched off a classic jobs-versus-environment battle in the nation's most densely populated state. Supporters say it will increase energy reliability, while environmentalists fear damage to the pristine Pinelands region. The plan was narrowly defeated in 2014. But since then, Republican Gov. Chris Christie has replaced several Pinelands commissioners with supporters of the pipeline. With a new Republican administration in power in Washington that is more receptive to fossil-fuel energy projects, the fate of the Pinelands pipeline is being closely watched by national energy and environmental groups. South Jersey Gas wants to run the pipeline mostly under or alongside existing roads from Maurice River Township in Cumberland County to the B.L. England power plant in Upper Township. The company says it already operates over 1,400 miles of gas mains and 133 miles of elevated pressure lines within the Pinelands without harming the environment. After the proposal was defeated in 2014, the executive director of the Pinelands Commission unilaterally decided that it met the agency's criteria and was therefore approved. Environmentalists sued, and a court ordered the commission to take a new vote. Environmental groups fear the pipeline will harm the fragile Pinelands and set a bad precedent for future development. They say it will cause a loss of some habitat and increase runoff and erosion in an area that is home to an aquifer that is estimated to hold 17 trillion gallons of some of the nation's purest water. Four former state governors — two Republicans and two Democrats — also have opposed the pipeline, citing their desire to protect a vulnerable natural resource. South Jersey Gas maintains that in addition to providing a cleaner fuel source to the power plant, the new pipeline would provide a second transmission vehicle for natural gas to thousands of customers in Atlantic and Cape May counties. Currently, there is only one pipeline that takes gas to nearly 29,000 homes and businesses, which could be left out in the cold without a second way of getting gas to their homes if the existing pipeline fails.


News Article | February 24, 2017
Site: hosted2.ap.org

(AP) — New Jersey environmental regulators on Friday approved a hotly contested plan to run a natural gas pipeline through a federally protected forest preserve amid raucous protests that included drums, tambourines and choruses of "This Land Is Your Land." The 15-member New Jersey Pinelands Commission voted 9-6 to approve a plan by South Jersey Gas to run the pipeline through the federally protected Pinelands preserve, where development is drastically restricted. The protesters' loud ruckus drowned out the members, even as they voted. It was the most emotionally charged jobs-vs-environment clash in recent New Jersey history, and was closely watched by environmental and energy groups around the nation, particularly with a new presidential administration seen as more supportive of the energy industry. "What you just did was despicable," environmentalist Bill Wolfe told the commission. "I'm gonna use George Bush and say people who voted for this pipeline are evildoers." "Your legacy is disgraceful!" added Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. The company said the vote "recognizes the energy reliability challenges facing southern New Jersey and the balanced solution this project offers. The careful construction of this pipeline will address the energy demands of 142,000 customers in Cape May and Atlantic counties, protect and create jobs, and provide a meaningful opportunity to significantly reduce air emissions." Protesters repeatedly disrupted the meeting, chanting "No! No! No!" for nearly 10 minutes when the commission was about to vote. They burst into song when a commissioner voted in favor of the plan. After the plan was approved, they chanted, "Shame on you!" and "See you in court!" Tittel said his and other environmental groups plan to challenge the approval in court on numerous procedural and factual grounds, hoping to delay it long enough for New Jersey's next governor to appoint Pinelands commissioners that will reverse the decision. Republican Gov. Chris Christie's successor will be elected in November. Supporters say the pipeline will increase energy reliability, while environmentalists fear damage to the pristine Pinelands region. The plan was narrowly defeated in 2014. But since then, Christie has replaced several Pinelands commissioners with supporters of the pipeline. Carleton Montgomery, executive director of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance, called the vote "a symptom of what's going on nationally" regarding pipeline projects. South Jersey Gas plans to run the pipeline mostly under or alongside existing roads from Maurice River Township in Cumberland County to the B.L. England power plant in Upper Township. The company says it already operates over 1,400 miles of gas mains and 133 miles of elevated pressure lines within the Pinelands without harming the environment. After the proposal was defeated in 2014, the executive director of the Pinelands Commission unilaterally decided that it met the agency's criteria and was therefore approved. Environmentalists sued, and a court ordered the commission to take a new vote. Environmental groups fear the pipeline will harm the fragile Pinelands and set a bad precedent for future development. They say it will cause a loss of some habitat and increase runoff and erosion in an area that is home to an aquifer that is estimated to hold 17 trillion gallons of some of the nation's purest water. Four former state governors — two Republicans and two Democrats — also have opposed the pipeline, citing their desire to protect a vulnerable natural resource. South Jersey Gas maintains that in addition to providing a cleaner fuel source to the power plant, the new pipeline would provide a second transmission vehicle for natural gas to thousands of customers in Atlantic and Cape May counties. Currently, there is only one pipeline that takes gas to nearly 29,000 homes and businesses, which could be left out in the cold without a second way of getting gas to their homes if the existing pipeline fails.


News Article | February 24, 2017
Site: hosted2.ap.org

(AP) — New Jersey regulators are set to vote on whether a natural gas pipeline should run through the state's federally protected Pinelands region, which includes more than a million acres of farms, forests and wetlands. The Pinelands Commission is expected to make a final determination Friday morning on the proposal that has touched off a classic jobs-versus-environment battle in the nation's most densely populated state. Supporters say it will increase energy reliability, while environmentalists fear damage to the pristine Pinelands region. The plan was narrowly defeated in 2014. But since then, Republican Gov. Chris Christie has replaced several Pinelands commissioners with supporters of the pipeline. With a new Republican administration in power in Washington that is more receptive to fossil-fuel energy projects, the fate of the Pinelands pipeline is being closely watched by national energy and environmental groups. South Jersey Gas wants to run the pipeline mostly under or alongside existing roads from Maurice River Township in Cumberland County to the B.L. England power plant in Upper Township. The company says it already operates over 1,400 miles of gas mains and 133 miles of elevated pressure lines within the Pinelands without harming the environment. After the proposal was defeated in 2014, the executive director of the Pinelands Commission unilaterally decided that it met the agency's criteria and was therefore approved. Environmentalists sued, and a court ordered the commission to take a new vote. Environmental groups fear the pipeline will harm the fragile Pinelands and set a bad precedent for future development. They say it will cause a loss of some habitat and increase runoff and erosion in an area that is home to an aquifer that is estimated to hold 17 trillion gallons of some of the nation's purest water. Four former state governors — two Republicans and two Democrats — also have opposed the pipeline, citing their desire to protect a vulnerable natural resource. South Jersey Gas maintains that in addition to providing a cleaner fuel source to the power plant, the new pipeline would provide a second transmission vehicle for natural gas to thousands of customers in Atlantic and Cape May counties. Currently, there is only one pipeline that takes gas to nearly 29,000 homes and businesses, which could be left out in the cold without a second way of getting gas to their homes if the existing pipeline fails.


News Article | February 24, 2017
Site: hosted2.ap.org

(AP) — New Jersey environmental regulators on Friday approved a hotly contested plan to run a natural gas pipeline through a federally protected forest preserve amid raucous protests that included drums, tambourines and choruses of "This Land Is Your Land." The 15-member New Jersey Pinelands Commission voted to approve a plan by South Jersey Gas to run the pipeline through the federally protected Pinelands preserve, where development is drastically restricted. The protesters' loud ruckus drowned out the members, even as they voted nine in favor and five against, with one abstention. It was the most emotionally charged jobs-vs-environment clash in recent New Jersey history, and was closely watched by environmental and energy groups around the nation, particularly with a new presidential administration seen as more supportive of the energy industry. "As a priest, I will pray for you when you stand before the throne of God and you are asked to give an accounting of your stewardship of this special ecological area," said Rev. David Stump, a Catholic priest from Jersey City. "May God have mercy on your souls." "Your legacy is disgraceful!" added Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. The company said the vote "recognizes the energy reliability challenges facing southern New Jersey and the balanced solution this project offers. The careful construction of this pipeline will address the energy demands of 142,000 customers in Cape May and Atlantic counties, protect and create jobs, and provide a meaningful opportunity to significantly reduce air emissions." The B.L. England power plant, where the pipeline would end, currently burns coal and oil to generate electricity. "The use of natural gas and state-of-the-art emissions control technology, together, can turn the facility into a cleaner and more efficient generator of electricity for the people of south Jersey," RC Cape May Holdings, the plant's owners, said in a statement after the vote. Protesters repeatedly disrupted the meeting, chanting "No! No! No!" for nearly 10 minutes when the commission was about to vote. They burst into song in protest whenever a commissioner voted in favor of the plan. After the plan was approved, they chanted, "Shame on you!" and "See you in court!" Pipeline supporters including construction workers, though greatly outnumbered, chanted "USA! USA!" Tittel said his and other environmental groups plan to challenge the approval in court on numerous procedural and factual grounds, hoping to delay it long enough for New Jersey's next governor to appoint Pinelands commissioners that will reverse the decision. Republican Gov. Chris Christie's successor will be elected in November. The 22-mile pipeline plan was narrowly defeated in 2014. But since then, Christie has replaced several Pinelands commissioners with supporters of the pipeline. Carleton Montgomery, executive director of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance, called the vote "a symptom of what's going on nationally" regarding pipeline projects. South Jersey Gas plans to run the pipeline mostly under or alongside existing roads. The company says it already operates over 1,400 miles of gas mains and 133 miles of elevated pressure lines within the Pinelands without harming the environment. After the proposal was defeated in 2014, the executive director of the Pinelands Commission unilaterally decided that it met the agency's criteria and was therefore approved. Environmentalists sued, and a court ordered the commission to take a new vote. Environmental groups fear the pipeline will harm the fragile Pinelands and set a bad precedent for future development. They say it will cause a loss of habitat and increase runoff and erosion in an area that is home to an aquifer that is estimated to hold 17 trillion gallons of some of the nation's purest water. South Jersey Gas maintains that in addition to providing a cleaner fuel source to the power plant, the new pipeline would provide a second transmission vehicle for natural gas to customers in the two southern New Jersey counties. Currently, only one pipeline takes gas to nearly 29,000 homes and businesses, which could be left out in the cold without a second way of getting gas to their homes if the existing pipeline fails.


Zampella R.A.,Pinelands Commission | Bunnell J.F.,Pinelands Commission | Laidig K.J.,Pinelands Commission | Procopio III N.A.,Pinelands Commission
Ecological Indicators | Year: 2010

The establishment of introduced species in aquatic and wetland habitats is often associated with human-related environmental degradation. In the blackwater streams of the New Jersey Pinelands, the presence of nonnative species drives the relationship between community composition and watershed disturbance associated with developed land and upland agriculture. Most Pinelands lakes are shallow, artificial stream impoundments. In this study, we determined if land-use gradients or thresholds were associated with the presence of nonnative-herbaceous-plant, woody-plant, fish, and anuran species in 30 Pinelands stream impoundments. Correlation and regression analyses indicated that the response of all four taxonomic groups to watershed disturbance was an increase in the number of nonnative species and the proportion of total species richness represented by nonnative species. Native-anuran richness decreased along the watershed-disturbance gradient. We found both linear and nonlinear responses when relating species-richness attributes to the percentage of altered land (combined percentage of upland agriculture and developed land) in the associated watersheds, but the nonlinear responses cannot be considered land-use-related degradation-threshold responses. The breaks in the regression lines describing the relationship between the percentage of total species richness represented by nonnative plants and fish and altered land in our Pinelands watersheds did not represent a degradation threshold because, with the exception of the percentage of total species richness represented by nonnative-anuran species, a progressive decline in aquatic integrity was observed before the break points. Kruskal-Wallis ANOVA revealed significant differences in species-richness attributes only among stream impoundments with contrasting altered-land profiles, providing further evidence that aquatic degradation was progressive. Logistic regression identified the point along the watershed-disturbance gradient at which the probability of encountering nonnative bullfrogs was greater than that for native carpenter frogs. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Laidig K.J.,Pinelands Commission | Zampella R.A.,Pinelands Commission | Brown A.M.,Pinelands Commission | Procopio N.A.,Pinelands Commission
Wetlands | Year: 2010

We developed vegetation models that, when linked to groundwater-hydrology models and landscape-level applications, can be used to predict the potential effect of groundwater-level declines on the distribution of wetland-forest communities, individual wetland species, and wetland-indicator groups. An upland-to-wetland vegetation gradient, comprising 201 forest plots located in five different study basins and classified as either upland pine-oak, pitch pine lowland, pine-hardwood lowland, hardwood swamp, or cedar swamp, paralleled variations in water-level. Water levels, woody-species composition, the percentage of wetland- and upland-indicator species, and soil properties varied among the five vegetation types. Because of the functional relationship of hydrology with its correlated soil variables, hydrology represented a good proxy for the complex hydrologic-edaphic gradient associated with the upland-to-wetland vegetation gradient. Two types of vegetation models were developed to predict potential changes in vegetation associated with water-level declines. Logistic regression models predicted the probability of encountering the different vegetation types and 29 community-indicator species in relation to water level. Simple regression models predicted the relative abundance and richness of wetland-and upland-indicator species as a function of water level. © 2010 Society of Wetland Scientists.


The purpose of this study was to estimate changes to aquatic habitat availability and fish and aquatic macroinvertebrate assemblages in coastal plain streams that may result from groundwater withdrawals. Hypothetical streamflow reductions of 5, 10, 20, and 30% of average annual streamflow and the 7-day low flow were calculated for 14 study sites. Using study-site streamflow and channel morphology data, relationships were developed to estimate five physical habitat metrics including average stream width, stream depth, stream cross-sectional area, stream-reach volume, and stream velocity. A second set of relationships was then developed to estimate the percentage reduction to each habitat metric under the hypothetical streamflow reduction scenarios. The average percentage decrease and variability of each habitat metric increased with successive streamflow reductions. Average percentage decreases in stream width, stream depth, stream cross-sectional area, and stream-reach volume were more pronounced for the reductions of average flow, whereas the average percentage decreases in stream velocity were more pronounced for the reductions of low flow. Models derived from a separate fish and macroinvertebrate study were used to estimate assemblage structure responses based on hypothetical reductions in average annual streamflow. The results of this study can be used to estimate the potential impact of groundwater withdrawals and subsequent streamflow reductions on available aquatic habitat and changes to fish and macroinvertebrate assemblages in coastal plain streams. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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