The Pinelands Commission is comprised of fifteen members, seven of whom are appointed by the governor, one appointed by each of the seven Pinelands Counties (Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean), and one federal representative from the Department of the Interior. Members of the Commission serve staggered three-year terms, but, once their terms expire, they continue in office until replaced or they resign. The Governor appoints the Chair of the Commission.
Pinelands Commissioners have final say with regards to all rule changes and all development activities regulated by the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP).
In recent years, the Pinelands Commission has approved several developments in violation of the plain terms and intent of the Pinelands Protection Act and CMP. Starting in 2017, three counties chose new designees for the Commission who we hope will do a better job protecting the Pinelands. But it is essential that the governor also make new nominations of conservation-minded individuals, and that the state Senate confirm these nominations.
As of today, Governor Murphy has made two nominations of excellent candidates, but one had to withdraw when she accepted a position with the state Board of Public Utilities (Commissioners cannot be state employees). So there is one nomination, of Theresa Lettman, pending before the Senate. The seat reserved for the federal representative is currently vacant. The Governor’s nominations to the Pinelands Commission must be approved by a full vote of the state Senate before they can serve.
How you can help
Call, write or email the Senate Judiciary Committee, and ask them to advance pending nominations through the confirmation process. Use our Take Action Tool.
Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee:
Nicholas P. Scutari (Chair, D, 22nd District), Nellie Pou (Vice-Chair, D, 35th District), Christopher Bateman (R, 16th District), Gerald Cardinale (R, 39th District), Kristin M. Corrado (R, 40th District), Michael J. Doherty (R, 23rd District), Joseph A. Lagana (D, 38th District), Paul A. Sarlo (D, 36th District), Troy Singleton (D, 7th District), Bob Smith (D, 17th District), Loretta Weinberg (D, 37th District).
Visit the New Jersey Legislative website to learn more about the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
You can also make noise at the county level to promote a transparent county appointment process. We have sent resolutions to each Pinelands county for their consideration regarding the appointment process. Attend your county freeholder meeting and express support for this resolution during public comment.
Questions? Contact Policy Advocate, Rhyan Grech. She can be reached at RhyanG@PinelandsAlliance.org or by phone at 609-859-8860 ext. 122.