Did the cantankerous battle over a natural gas pipeline through the Pinelands just end without the firing of a single shot?
That may be the case as the Pinelands Commission staff on Friday issued a “Certificate of Filing” which declares that an application from South Jersey Gas to build the 22-mile natural gas pipeline along roads through the Pinelands is complete and ready for review.
It also eliminates the need for an approval vote by the full commission, something that critics of the pipeline feared had been cinched with Gov. Chris Christie's contested appointment of a new commissioner to replace a panel member who had cast the 'no' vote that sunk the pipeline on a previous occasion. Christie's new Pinelands nominees trigger enviro alarms
Environmentalist fought the appointment which narrowly passed the Senate on March 16. Pinelands supporters outraged by vote to replace Commission member who voted against pipeline
Since then, opponents have been dreading an expected new vote, so Friday's action came as a surprise--although equally unwelcome--and made some wonder if the new appointee also had decided to vote against the plan.
Matt Katz, in NJ Spotlight, reports that Commission Executive Director Nancy Wittenberg told the commission that the decision "does not need to come before them for a vote because the project is a private development for use only within the Pinelands, and the gas pipeline will feed a power plant that will provide electricity to the area."
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