Environmental Groups Applaud Pinelands Nominations

File photo.
File photo.

NEW JERSEY – Conservationists voiced support for Gov. Phil Murphy’s nominations to the Pinelands Commission.

The Pinelands Commission is an independent state agency tasked with protecting the pinelands’ natural resources.

Murphy has nominated Theresa Lettman, who would take over for Candace McKee Ashmun, and Kelly Mooij has been nominated to replace Gary Quinn.

Theresa Lettman was a former employee of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance and had been on the Ocean County National Lands Trust Advisory Committee.

Kelly Mooij is vice president of government affairs at the New Jersey Audobon Society.

The Pinelands Preservation Alliance is a nonprofit group that advocates for environmental issues. It sent out a press release commending the governor on picking Lettman and Mooij.

Ashmun, who is retiring, was the last of the original members from when the Commission was founded in 1979, according to a press release from the Pinelands Preservation Alliance. “It is impossible to overstate Candy’s contributions to New Jersey’s environment, in the Pinelands and beyond. We are deeply grateful for her decades of service to the people and to the natural resources of our state.”

Quinn, a builder, had been appointed by Gov. Chris Christie. Quinn just won his election to the Ocean County Freeholders.

“Governor Murphy is making good on his promises to make science-based decision making a top priority in our state,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director of New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. “The Christie Administration politicized the Pinelands Commission and filled it with members who would greenlight dangerous pipeline projects that violate the intent of the Commission. Governor Murphy’s appointees are a critical step in strengthening this important regional planning body to meet the objectives of the Pinelands act and protect the drinking water of millions of New Jerseyans.”