Brendan Byrne: The Man Who Saved the Pinelands- Will Be Missed
Former Gov. Brendan T. Byrne passed away on January 4th, 2018. The Democrat was Governor for two terms from 1974 to 1982. He helped pass major environmental legislation and is known especially for passing the Pinelands Act to protect New Jersey’s Pinelands. Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, released the following statement:
“The Sierra Club is saddened by the loss of Governor Brendan Byrne. He truly was an environmental champion and hero to the Sierra Club. Our hearts and best wishes go out to his family and friends. For us, we are losing a true friend of the environment. The Sierra Club endorsed him every time he ran for office. He moved New Jersey forward with environmental protections more than any other Governor. Everyone knows that he protected the Pinelands, but he also passed the Pollution Control Act, Clean Water Act of NJ, the Spill Act that became a national model, and dozens of others important laws. He truly helped make New Jersey a national leader in environmental protection.
“Whenever I would see Governor Byrne, he would tell me that he loved the Sierra Club because even if he did what we wanted him too, we still criticized him for not doing enough. He also said we were pushing to do the right thing because it is our job to make our state’s environment better. At times, Byrne was not always popular, but he did what he thought was right. People learned to understand that what he did was not only right, but was good for the state. This is why he has such a strong legacy.
“If you drive through the Pinelands and see almost a million preserved acres, you can know that’s Brendan Byrne’s legacy. Here in the most densely populated state, we have an oasis of nature that he led the fight to protect. Even later, he worked to oppose pipelines and continued to protect the Pinelands. This is all part of what made Brendan Byrne such a great Governor. So many politicians work in their own best interests or blindly follow the polls, but Brenden Byrne always did what was right. We realize now all the great things he’s done. This should be a lesson to all Governors after. He was called ‘The Man That Couldn’t Be Bought’ and his integrity showed. We call him the ‘Man That Saved the Pinelands’.”