On Jan. 10, a proposed 22-mile natural gas pipeline through the ecologically fragile New Jersey Pinelands region was rejected.
The proposal failed on a 7-7 vote by the New Jersey Pinelands Commission. Eight votes are needed for the commission to take any action.
New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel called the decision “a great victory for the Pinelands and the environment of the region.” He added, “The commissioners did their job to protect the Pinelands region, its water supply and its unique ecosystem from a polluting fossil fuel pipeline.”
The pipeline plan has pitted business and labor unions against environmentalists. Under the deal, South Jersey Gas would pay $8 million to a Pinelands fund for an exemption from a ban on new transmission lines in the 1.1-million-acre reserve.
The pipeline would run to the BL England power plant in Cape May County, enabling it to switch from coal to cleaner-burning natural gas.
Business groups and labor unions say it would generate jobs.