Thursday, August 7, 2008

NJ enviros, planners clash over Highlands

It's a rare occurrence--New Jersey environmental and "smart-growth" planning organizations disagreeing in public.

But the future of the Highlands Council's regional master plan is apparently important enough to send both sides onto the media battleground.

The first salvos were fired immediately after members of the Highlands Council on July 17 adopted a final version of their long-debated plan which sets the rules for all future development and preservation in the Highlands region. That territory covers 88 municipalities in seven counties in much of the state's northwest quadrant.

The New Jersey Sierra Club, NJ Environmental Federation and others immediately denounced the plan and demanded in the media that Governor Corzine reject it. A Corzine spokesman says the governor is reviewing the plan. He has 30 days to act.

Yesterday, three organizations--NJ Future, the Regional Plan Association and SmarthGrowthNJ--released a letter to the press in which they urged Corzine not to veto the minutes of the July 17 meeting as the environmental groups have urged.

They called the concerns of those urging a veto "exaggerated, empirically unsubstantiated and certainly do not warrant such a
rash action."

The Sierra Club's Jeff Tittel fired back today, characterizing the
three organizations as "lobbyists for massive sprawl."

Today's issue of EnviroPolitics has more on the debate. For a free copy, send a blank email to:

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