State of the Pinelands Report
PPA's annual State of the Pinelands Report details the actions of government agencies and elected officials with regard to Pinelands protection.
Released to the public February 2016.
This is a critical moment for the survival of New Jersey’s Pinelands. This report shows that it is getting harder to keep inappropriate development out of areas that were set aside for protection by the Pinelands Plan over 35 years ago. When we allow Pinelands rules to be waived or ignored “just this time” we sacrifice the very foundation on which protection of the Pinelands is based. New Jersey’s residents can’t afford to be silent – the only way the Pinelands will survive is if citizens pressure our state government relentlessly to protect it.
The construction of high pressure natural gas pipelines through protected areas in the Pinelands is a major threat identified by the Pinelands Preservation Alliance in this year's report. Two proposals from two different companies, New Jersey Natural Gas and South Jersey Gas, are poised to undo more that 35 years of Pinelands protection if approved.
Both natural gas pipelines violate the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP). Both are asking their ratepayers to foot the bill for a project that they have yet to prove is necessary to meet their stated purposes. Perhaps even worse, the Pinelands Commission has refused to officially rule on either project leaving the question of compliance with Pinelands rules in a bureaucratic no man’s land. This sets a terrible precedent for an independent state agency that the public depends on to “preserve, protect and enhance the natural and cultural resources of the Pinelands National Reserve.”
The South Jersey Gas pipeline proposed for construction through a portion of the Pinelands Forest Management Area in Cumberland, Atlantic and Cape May Counties came back in 2015 after being defeated by a tie vote of the Pinelands Commission in 2014. This time around the Pinelands Commissioners have been sidelined by the Commission’s Executive Director. In August the Executive Director issued a certificate of filing for the project and has refused to make any formal determination that the project complies with Pinelands rules. This project sailed through the approval process with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilties (BPU) and is now in court as the PPA has filed an appeal against the BPU decision.
The New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) pipeline project, known as the Southern Reliability Link (SRL), is proposed for construction through the Preservation Area of the Pinelands through the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. The BPU approved the first petition for the SRL in January 2016 with a second petition still pending. Expert analysis of the NJNG application by Skipping Stone, a national firm with expertise in energy market services, shows this pipeline is unnecessary as NJNG’s current system has greater capacity than its ratepayers use or need.
“Since NJNG concedes it does not need more gas for its existing customers or new demand, and the new pipeline would not provide any missing resiliency for its system, we can only conclude that the purpose of this very costly development is simply to inflate the company’s rate base and profits at the expense of ratepayers,” stated Carleton Montgomery, executive director of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance. “Adding insult to injury, the pipeline also violates the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan.”
The SRL has been vigorously opposed by the towns of Chesterfield, Bordentown, and Mansfield. Pinelands Preservation Alliance and Chesterfield Township are participants in the BPU review process. PPA submitted the Skipping Stone analysis as part of its filings with BPU.
Click on the link to read the entire report. This report was mailed to current members of the Pinelands Presevation Alliance in February 2016.
If you are a PPA member and would like to attend our Members Only Meeting about this report on February 25, 2016 click here.
February 17, 2106 NJTV News Online - Interview with PPA Executive Director Carleton Montgomery.
2014 State of the Pinelands Report
2013 State of the Pinelands Report
2012 State of the Pinelands Report
2011 State of the Pinelands Report
2010 State of the Pinelands Report
2009 State of the Pinelands Report
2008 State of the Pinelands Report
2007 State of the Pinelands Report