Take Action on March 14th for the Pines
The Pinelands National Reserve wasn’t created as a pathway for the construction of natural gas pipelines. It wasn’t preserved to serve as an Off-Road Vehicle Park and it doesn’t have an endless supply of clean water. Yet our state agencies and elected representatives are working to undo over 35 years of Pinelands protections.
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Rally for the Pines on March 14th (rain or shine)
Time: 8:30 am to 11:30 am
Location: New Jersey State Capital, Trenton NJ
8:30 am - Gather at the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
The DEP is located at 401 East State Street in Trenton, NJ. Please arrive by 8:30 so we can start on time. Thank you to the band North East Corners who will be playing during the march!
9:00 am – We March!
We will march 0.8 miles down East State Street, making a left on Barracks Street and ending at the end at the War Memorial Theater steps (1 Memorial Drive, Trenton NJ).
9:45 am – Rally for the Pinelands featuring the following speakers:
- Senator Raymond Lesniak (D - Union) and Assemblyman Ronald S. Dancer (R - Jackson)
- Andrea Katz, Chesterfield – Ms. Katz is a member of People Over Pipelines and mom of three small children whose elementary school is just over a half mile from the proposed New Jersey Natural Gas Southern Reliability Link project.
- Robert Jackson, Cape May – Mr. Jackson served as a Pinelands Commissioner from 2008 to 2014 and was replaced by Governor Christie. In 2014 Mr. Jackson voted against a proposal by South Jersey Gas to construct a pipeline in the Pinelands in violation of the rules.
10:30 am – Meet Your Legislator
Participants head to the State House to meet with their legislators. Members from all the participating organizations will help get you to your Senator or Assemblyperson. We will provide you with talking points and a flyer to leave with your representative.
Driving Directions/Parking: There is metered parking along State Street near 401 East State Street. There is also a private garage – Station Plaza Parking (https://goo.gl/maps/8ANaHxE5d6C2) located at 60 Raoul Wallenberg Ave, Trenton, NJ 08609. You can get more information about parking rates on their website.
Public Transportation: There is a chance that there will be a NJ Transit strike starting on March 13th. Please pay attention if this impacts you. If there isn’t a strike take the Riverline/Light Rail/NJ Transit to the Trenton Transit Center. It is a short walk (about 0.2 miles) north on South Clinton Ave and make a left on East State Street.
Carpooling: We have some carpool locations. Email me if you are looking for a ride or would be willing to drive. Tell me your meeting location preference.
- PPA Offices: We will have a small passenger bus available at our offices in Southampton. You must RSVP as seating is limited. To reserve a seat on the bus from PPA please email Jason@pinelandsalliance.org and he will send you the details.
- Princeton: If you are interested in a ride from Princeton let me know. Limited seating available.
- Bring your photo ID in order to get into the State House.
- Bring a sign with you! Get creative but keep it clean.
- Wear a green t-shirt or get one from us when you arrive.
- If you like come dressed as a pine tree or another earthly Pinelands creature
- Bring a backpack, snacks and something to drink
- Be prepared for the weather this is a rain or shine event!
- There is a cafeteria in the State House to get lunch.
Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to rally for the Pinelands. This is a crucial time. Please spread the word, bring your friends and family.
This past year was one of the worst years we have experienced in terms of setbacks to Pinelands protections. For example:
- The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approved construction of the South Jersey Gas pipeline through the Pinelands Forest Management Area despite the fact that it violates Pinelands rules. The company could start construction any day now.
- New Jersey Natural Gas is seeking permission to construct a high pressure natural gas pipeline through the Preservation Area of the Pinelands – an area that is supposed to have the highest level of protection.
- 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 any genuine public 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 abrogation of its responsibilities 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 New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection launched, but then abruptly withdrew an effort to stop off-road vehicles from destroying habitat in Wharton State Forest, the largest state forest in New Jersey. The DEP also proposed rules that would weaken storm water management, flood hazard control and coastal zone management.
- The Governor replaced Pinelands Commissioner Robert Jackson who voted against the South Jersey Gas pipeline the first time around. The Governor removed Mark Lohbauer as Chair of the Pineland Commission. Mark was also a “no” vote on the South Jersey Gas Pipeline.
When will these abuses end?
The only way the Pinelands will survive is if the residents of New Jersey pressure our state government relentlessly to protect it. It is time to take to the streets of our state capital and DEMAND that our legislators and state agencies stop allowing the Pinelands to be destroyed for private profit.
We have to take back the Pinelands from the government officials who are supposed to be safeguarding its forests, waters and wildlife habitat.