Saturday, January 17, 2015

NJ Senate panel holds off vote on Gov.’s Pinelands pair

                                           Inquirer photo: Akira Suwa
** Updated at 10:20 a.m. on Jan. 19, 2015**
** Updated at 1:20 p.m. on Jan. 17, 2015**

“Gov. Chris Christie’s nominees to the Pinelands Commission are in limbo after taking a hard line of questioning Thursday regarding a controversial pipeline proposal for the region.”

S. P. Sullivan reported for that Dennis Roohr, the mayor of New Hanover Township, and Robert Barr, of Ocean City, were scrutinized by legislators during a two-hour hearing but did not receive an up or down vote from the state Senate Judiciary Committee.
The two men have been nominated by the Christie administration to replace Pinelands commissioners Robert Jackson and D'Arcy Rohan Green, both of whom voted against the pipeline proposal, which would allow South Jersey Gas to build a 22-mile natural gas pipeline through the region. It was rejected 7-7 with one abstention earlier this year, but could come up for a vote again.
Environmental advocates have accused Christie, who supports the pipeline, of attempting to pack the commission with allies who would give it the green light. Neither candidate would say for sure how they’d vote on the issue under repeated questioning. 
“To give an opinion on a hypothetical situation would be wrong,” Roohr told the committee, adding that he was not familiar with the particulars of the pipeline controversy, including the accusations that Christie’s office was seeking to replace its opponents on the commission. 
“Are there newspapers in your area?” state Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) asked Roohr, alluding to the high-profile debate that has played out in the press over the proposal. 
Roohr, a Burlington County farmer whose property sits at the edge of the Pinelands, said if appointed, he would thoroughly research the topic and reach a decision “made on facts.”
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