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Governor Moves Against the Pinelands

Take action to prevent corporate lobbyists from replacing environmental allies on the Pinelands Commission

December 3, 2021


In a truly shocking move, Governor Murphy today nominated three corporate lobbyists for the Pinelands Commission. They would replace three seasoned environmental leaders with years of service for the Pinelands.

All three of the new nominees appear to have fundamental conflicts of interest due to their employment as lobbyists for industry.  Only one of the three appears to have any prior interest at all in environmental protection.

As the only advocacy organization dedicated to Pinelands protection, Pinelands Preservation Alliance has been in frequent contact with the governor and his staff about the Pinelands Commission, and no one breathed a word of this scheme to us or any other environmental leader.  The governor has also made the nominations soon after the election, and they are to be confirmed during the Legislature’s short lame-duck session before the new legislative session that starts in January.  So this was carefully planned to avoid bad publicity before the election and to allow the confirmation process to be railroaded through the State Senate.

The new nominees would replace Ed Lloyd, New Jersey’s most prominent environmental lawyer with decades of experience in the Pinelands, Rick Prickett, a retired science teacher who has worked his whole life to protect the Pinelands, and D’Arcy Rohan Green, a long-time advocate for Barnegat Bay and the Pinelands.

Here are the new nominees:

Elvin Montero is Deputy Director of the NJ Chemistry Council, a lobbying/industry association for chemical manufacturers.  Its website praises companies like Union Carbide and American Cyanamid and shows the Council opposes every meaningful environmental protection reform.

Davon McCurry is Deputy Head of Market and Government Affairs at Orsted, the huge wind energy firm that has won contracts to develop turbines off the Jersey shore – that is, a lobbyist for a company with vast development interests in South Jersey.

Laura Matos is Managing Director and General Manager of Kivvit, a national political lobbying and media firm whose clients include many of America’s biggest corporations and trade associations.

PPA’s opposition to these nominees is not personal — they are undoubtedly all great human beings.  But their employment, the minefield of conflicts of interest that they would bring with them, and their lack of any prior involvement in Pinelands protection show they are not nominated to make the Pinelands stronger and more effective in preserving this region’s unique natural resources.

We need your help to make sure these nominees are not confirmed!

Take Action:

Email your State Senators asking them not to support their confirmation.

Questions? Contact Rhyan Grech, Policy Advocate at rhyang@pinelandsalliance.org.

24 responses to “Governor Moves Against the Pinelands”

  1. Keith Erickson says:

    This is infuriating and outrageous! The real Phil Murphy takes off his sheep suit, and now we can see the wolf that he really is…

    THE LINK TO EMAIL YOUR STATE SENATORS DOES NOT WORK. It redirects my browser to https://www.salsalabs.com/not-found Can you please look into this? Thanks!

  2. Robert Edwin Steinfort says:

    As an active member of both the Outdoor Club of South Jersey and PPA, I volunteer every Tuesday to do trail maintenance on the 53 mile-long Batona Trail, much of which runs through our beautiful and environmentally significant Pinelands. When I found out that three corporate lobbyists were nominated to serve on the Pinelands Commission, my first thought was, “Did Phil Murphy really get reelected, or is this his evil twin?”

    Bad move, Phil! One fox in the hen house would be one too many. Three in the hen house would be unthinkable. In the name of sanity, please, state legislators, DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN! Protect and defend this state and national treasure we call the Pinelands!

  3. jj mish says:

    The diversity of the Pinelands region stand in dramatic contrast to a the lack of political diversity in NJ, a one party state.

  4. We Don’t need more corporate people, who DON’T UNDERSTAND the Pinelands only profits. I absolutely Do NOT approve these unvetted people .They have ZERO experience in management of our sacred space.

  5. Bill Wolfe says:

    Carleton – what happened at the meeting with the Gov.’s Office today?

    I have their Press Office statement and it is horrible – I’ll write about it tomorrow.

    Can you explain to everyone here what you agree to?

  6. Bob Golomb says:

    This lunacy must be stopped! Our precious pinelands (almost a quarter of NJ!) are an irreplaceable treasure that must be protected at all costs. Future generations have a right to enjoy them as we enjoy them today.
    These nominees MUST be rejected ASAP!

  7. Margaret Bowen says:

    Fight Covid…not the Pinelands! Preserve this original state!!

  8. Governor Phil Murphy has betrayed environmentalists who ardently supported his extremely close re-election effort by dumping a slate of eco-friendly nominees and replacing them with a pack of polluters to serve on the Pinelands Commission.

    Murphy’s plot to put polluters’ lobbyists on New Jersey Pinelands Commission shows exactly what I have known all along: This greedy politician bought a job he is clearly unprepared to do well because he caved to corporate corruption rather than stand for health & safety.

    Governor Murphy is once again demonstrating that establishment Democrats would compromise, capitulate, and surrender rather than fight for principles. I never trusted his integrity and my suspicions are once again confirmed.

  9. DonnaG says:

    This is unconscionable. Follow the money please. For sure there are under the table deals being made here. The Pinelands is not something to mess with. It is a vital resource for south jersey. As it is, the aquifer is being stressed from all of the recent building.

  10. Hara Rola says:

    I am angry and simultaneously saddened by Gov. Murphy’s inappropriate nominations for the Pinelands Commission. His action feels like a betrayal to all the environmentalists and Pinelands advocates who have supported him through two elections. I will do all I can to help stop these nominations. The protection of NJ’s great Pinelands should come first over corporate interests.

  11. Lee Farnham says:

    Based on the tenor of your email, my presumption is that each existing member, who would
    be replaced by the Gov’s new appointees, has years of accumulated knowledge about the
    challenges faced by the Pinelands.
    What is illogical is the reasoning of the Gov…why would he choose to replace three experienced, knowledgeable members with three neophytes? It doesn’t make sense.
    Tell him to find other positions for the possible replacements, and let those who have been there for years, and understand the issues The Pinelands have to face, and have environmentally sound solutions, to get on with itch. We will all benefit in the long run.

  12. Leeann poulysyn says:

    This makes me so so sad. I have always talked highly of Murphy but now I’m not so sure!!! We need to safe and protect our pine lands at any cost!!! We live in a world that is only thinking about now not the future. If we do not protect what we have what will our kids and there kids and so on have left!!! Please rethink your choices!!!

  13. Janet Rolnick says:

    The standing commissioners should protest this action. Their hard work and dedication will mean nothing if these appointments remain.

  14. Valerie Nelson says:

    Governor Murphy, the Pinelands are unique to our region and an important natural resource. My parents fought to kill the jetport that was proposed first for the Great Swamp then the Pinelands. There’s a reason these projects were cancelled and I fear without active preservationists on the Pinelands Commission we may be fighting the same fight again, 60 years later. Please protect NJ’s natural resources and protect the Pinelands Commission by finding new nominees rather than chemical industry insiders and corporate lobbyists with potential conflicts of interest.

  15. KarenH says:

    That’s our pinelands. Not his. You tell that govener. To get lost. These homelands has been here for centuries.And it’s going to stay. I vote no.

  16. Eileen Cosentino says:

    I do not support these three nominees. The Pinelands need to be protected.

  17. Tim Heiser says:

    Protect the Pine Barrens at all costs. Keep N Jersey up North!

  18. Richard TenEyck says:

    When popular trust in government is at record lows, the nomination of three corporate spokespeople to the Pinelands Commission is nothing short of insulting. It will not be possible to restore people’s trust in their election representatives while blatantly substituting corporate interests for environmental concerns. Please reject the governor’s nominees.

  19. Eileen broderick says:

    Stop we need save pine land

  20. Bill Wolfe says:

    I’ve been criticizing the Murphy Administration from day one, virtually alone. There has never been more corporate influence on environmental policy in NJ. He installed a former corporate lawyer for major polluters as head of DEP, including the Gibbstown LNG plant. LaTourette reappointed Dupont on DEP’s Science Advisory Board. Dupont also was appointed on the Toxics Advisory Committee at the DRBC. He’s done nothing but issue vague Executive Orders on climate change. He has not reversed Christie DEP rollbacks but instead embraced them and further rolled back key regulations. I’ve written these stories, but they’ve gotten zero attention. Maybe they will now.

    The entire conservation community must walk away from and stop praising this Gov. This must not be allowed to happen. Thanks to PPA for calling it out. Frankly, it so absurd, I though it was an Onion stunt or something. Oh, and has the Gov. delivered on Highlands appointments?


    • Governor Murphy is once again demonstrating that establishment Democrats would compromise, capitulate, and surrender rather than fight for principles. I never trusted his integrity and my suspicions are once again confirmed.

    • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie agreed to settle an $8.9 billion environmental lawsuit against ExxonMobil for just $250 million, but Gov. Murphy allowed it after he took over. He was never an environmental ally, just a show horse with a big bank account

  21. Steve Fiedler says:

    This makes absolutely no sense. I can’t imagine what kind of political calculus went into this. The NJ Pinelands are under constant assault and the Comprehensive Management Plan needs to be protected by people who understand it. That takes many years of study and dedication to the document that protects this remarkable but fragile state and national treasure. I hope that the Legislature will not support these ill-conceived nominations.

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