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Gov. Murphy Makes Additional Nominations to Pinelands Commission

Gov. Murphy announced two nominations of highly qualified individuals to serve on the state Pinelands Commission: Jessica Rittler Sanchez and Jennifer Coffey. He also nominated for reappointment Commissioner Edward Lloyd.

May 24, 2019


Jennifer Coffey has been a strong voice for the protection of water resources in New Jersey.  Ms. Coffey is executive director of the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC), an organization that supports the states’ many municipal environmental commissions in protecting natural resources through the local government planning and permitting processes.  Prior to assuming this position, Ms. Coffey worked for 10 years as the policy director for the Watershed Institute, then known as the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association. She is a member of the New Jersey State Water Supply Advisory Council and the New Jersey Society of Women Environmental Professionals.  Ms. Coffey, resides in Hamilton and has been nominated to replace Bob Barr, who was nominated by Governor Christie in 2015.

Jennifer Coffey

Jessica Rittler Sanchez, Ph.D., is a regional planner specializing in water resources policy and management.  She worked for the Delaware River Basin Commission until her retirement in 2018. A Rutgers graduate (MCRP, Ph.D.) and Pinelands resident from Tabernacle, Ms. Sanchez has focused her career on the water resource issues of New Jersey, especially the relationship between human development and the natural environment. She has been a member of the board of trustees for the Pinelands Preservation Alliance since 2007.  Ms. Sanchez has been nominated to replace Gary Quinn, who was nominated by Governor Christie in 2011.

Jessica Sanchez speaking with PPA staff, Rich Bizub

Commissioner Edward Lloyd started serving as a Pinelands Commissioner in 2002, and he is a dedicated and strong advocate for the Pinelands.  Mr. Lloyd is a lawyer, professor, and director for the Columbia Law Environmental Clinic, and he brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Pinelands Commission.  His experience is invaluable and critical to the Pinelands Commission.

Governor Murphy now has four nominations to the state Pinelands Commission that are pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee.   In January, the Governor nominated Theresa Lettman to succeed Candace McKee Ashmun.  Candy Ashmun is the last of the original members still serving on the Commission, founded forty years ago in 1979. “Ms. Ashmun just turned 95, and after 40 years of service, deserves to see her seat filled by someone she respects and supports,” said Jaclyn Rhoads, Assistant Executive Director, Pinelands Preservation Alliance.

Carleton Montgomery, executive director of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance said, “We look forward to the Senate confirming these highly-qualified individuals to join the Pinelands Commission before the legislature breaks for summer recess at the end of June.”

The Governor’s nominations to the Pinelands Commission must be approved by a full vote of the state Senate before they can serve.

6 responses to “Gov. Murphy Makes Additional Nominations to Pinelands Commission”

  1. Georgina Shanley says:

    Can the Enviro groups spearhead an Action aimed at Sweeney and Scuteri to allow these Senate votes to take place ASAP? It’s the only way for us to exert pressure. The campaign to stop Transco pipeline I.e. phoning and emailing Murphy was effective. Why not do this for the nominees. I also think it is vital to attend Pinelands Commission meetings starting Friday June 14th. We have witnessed last minute additions to the agenda so we can’t be lulled ? Thanks for allowing this feedback forum.

  2. Bill Wolfe says:

    Tony – good questions – the “holdup in the Senate” is very likely Senate President Sweeney, who backed the infamous South Jersey Gas pipeline and is no fan of the Pinelands or Gov. Murphy. The Gov will have to fight for these nominees, and there is very little evidence that he is willing to do that (and Sweeney will likely extract concessions in negotiations with the Gov.).

    But before the Senate even votes on the Gov.’s nomiees, they must be reviewed and approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. As fas a I know, Chairman Scutari (D) has not even scheduled hearings on these nominees, but he generally doesn’t move without Sweeney’s OK.

    The Pineland advocates have to become more politically savvy and push back on Sweeney and pressure him to get the Judiciary Cmte and Senate moving. They also must withhold praise forGov. Murphy until his nominees are confirmed by the Senate.

  3. Bill Wolfe says:

    Jessica Sanchez is a very good appointment – highly qualified (science, planning, policy), intimately familiar with the Pines, and committed to the mission of the Commission, the goals of the CMP and the Pinelands Act.

    While Jenn Coffey is clearly an improvement over Bob Barr, (no pun) but that is far too low bar. Her qualifications are weak, at best, and it took years before she was willing to speak out publicly against the Christie rollbacks. She tends to keep the important work of the WSAC an internal discussion and is weak in outreach to the public.. I can’t recall seeing her in any of the Pinelands hearings or involved in the battles. And let’s not forget the origin of the Watershed Institute in the Whitman green cover years. (I can affirm this criticism as the author of the 1997 Watershed Management Act, which established DEP’s watershed planning process in NJ law).

    Regardless of the merits, Gov. Murphy has to fight for approval of his nominees – that will take some mud wrestling with Senate President Sweeney.

    Gov. Murphy deserves no praise until these nominees are confirmed by the Senate.

  4. Ellen McConnell says:

    Sounds like appointments with expertise! Unlike Christie did!

  5. Tony hagen says:

    Wasn’t T Lettman ordered to fill a vacant spot recently? And wouldn’t this mean that despite her unconfirmed nomination she is now serving as a temporary member? The process is a bit confusing. Also, what’s the holdup in the Senate?

    • Becky Free says:

      Hi Tony! Theresa was nominated by the Governor to fill the spot currently held by Candace McKee Ashmun who still serves on the Commission. Candy is looking to step down after serving on the Commission since its was established in 1979. Nominations made by the Governor are subject to the consent of the state Senate. The Governor’s nominees can only begin to serve after receiving an affirmative vote by the Senate.

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