The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved Robert Barr by 7-5-1 for the Pinelands Commission. Jeff Tittel, Director of the NJ Sierra Club issued the following statement:
“After Robert Barr was blocked twice in the past, dirty politics reared its ugly head and Robert Barr was pushed through. We are outraged by this abuse of power by Democratic leadership and Christie Administration for pushing this nomination through the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary Committee was bullied by Governor Christie and Senator Sweeney. The Democrats and Governor Christie have sold out the Pinelands. This appointment shows Senator Sweeney doing the dirty work for the Christie Administration. This is an Administration that has weakened protections in the Highlands, rolled back protection in the Meadowlands and is now attacking the Pinelands. This is an administration that targets planning and environmental protections. Christie and the Democrats are selling out New Jersey to the developers and polluters. This appointment puts the future of the Pinelands at stake. It is not just about the pipeline, this appointment will dismantle 40 years of Pinelands protections and a successful growth management plan.”
“Robert Barr has no reason to be on the Pinelands Commission except to do the dirty work for South Jersey Gas and developers. Robert Barr’s appointment to the Pinelands Commission is just wrong. This is more about the Governor and political retribution than it is about the Pinelands. Robert Barr is not qualified and has been appointed to do the dirty work for the people who want to push through the pipeline and weaken protections in the Pinelands. Robert Barr is a dangerous threat to the Pinelands and he is part of the Christie Administration’s plan to undermine and weaken Pineland’s protections and push through this dangerous pipeline. Nominating Robert Barr again shows just how desperate the Christie administration is to stack the Pinelands Commission. This is the Christie-Norcross-Sweeney takeover of what was an independent board that was set up to protect the Pinelands, not special interests. There they go again they keep trying to take over the Pinelands Commission. Robert Barr is the President of the Ocean City Democratic Club, Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Cape May County Democratic Committee and a close ally of Senator Jeff Van Drew.”
“Robert Barr during his first testimony in Committee knew nothing about the Pinelands or science of the Pinelands. He still knows nothing about the Pinelands. All he knows is political science and has political connections. This appointment is about politics, not protecting the Pinelands. When Mr. Barr was interviewed during Committee he said he has no opinion of the pipeline, but he is part of the political operation that is pushing for the pipeline. He has raised money from many of the supporters of the pipeline. He has worked for the pipelines main proponents. He also was on the Ocean City Utility Authority Advisory Commission that looks at issues like BL England and the pipeline. In his testimony when he said he does not follow the pipeline that does not pass the straight face test. He is either that ignorant or he misled the Judiciary Committee. Either way it makes him unqualified. This appointment jeopardizes the Pinelands and is a sellout of our environment. His appointment is a real threat to the Pinelands and 40 years of protection.”
“The Governor is trying to get rid of all the Commissioners who opposed the pipeline and this is part of that purge. Governor Christie is pushing Robert Barr because it may be tougher for Democrats on the Committee who support the Pinelands to vote against just a lone democrat. This is a tactical move by Governor Christie to try to take over the Pinelands Commission. What is even more shameful is that there are Democrats that are willing to do his dirty work. Pinelands are a UN biosphere reserve and one of the largest sources of fresh drinking water on the east coast. This appointment will undo all of those protections that we have been fighting for,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of The New Jersey Sierra Club.
Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator
New Jersey Sierra Club