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Who Said That? A Quick and Revealing Quiz

Do the Pinelands Commissioners think we are stupid?

Let’s play a quick multiple choice game to illustrate a key point.

Who said this, making statements of alleged facts and unsubstantiated conclusions, on the record, on June 28, 2013, to the Pinelands Commission:

X said that a number of routes had been evaluated. The preferred route for the gas line traverses roughly 15 miles within the Pinelands Area, 10.2 miles of which is in the Forest Area. There are no issues related to the pipeline’s impact on wetlands, threatened and endangered species or any other environmental standard, but a deviation from the land use standards of the CMP is required for development of the proposed gas main to proceed.

X said that repowering this plant with natural gas will provide substantial environmental benefit beyond improved air quality. With the anticipated closing of the Oyster Creek plant in Lacey Township in 2019, energy capacity will become a significant issue for South Jersey. Furthermore, the repowered plant will provide a redundancy in gas supply which, based on the experience of local residents during Superstorm Sandy, would benefit the area.

Was it:

  • A) The CEO of South Jersey Gas Co.
  • B) The attorney for South Jersey Gas Co.
  • C) The CEO of owner of BL England power plant
  • D) The attorney for the BL England power plant
  • E) The lawyer for the Pinelands Commission, Ms. Roth

The correct answer is E – Ms. Roth (confirm in minutes)

Who said this, prior to the above alleged factual findings in the June remarks – back on April 12, 2013:

X said that she anticipated bringing two draft agreements to the Committee this Spring related to:

  1. An MOA to enable development of a natural gas pipeline through the Forest Area to serve the Atlantic City Electric Company’s B.L. England Generating Station in Cape May County; 

Same multiple choice answers – A-E

Again the correct answer is E, Ms. Roth (confirm in minutes)

Clearly, both statements show extreme bias in favor of the pipeline and BL England plant. They are clearly prejudicial. The first statement makes demonstrable false assertions that are not backed by evidence or data and are way beyond the scope of Ms. Roth’s legal expertise, a nice way of saying she was not qualified to even make those biased, inappropriate, and even factually false propagandistic statements.

This is why I criticized Ms. Roth and warned the Commissioners that Ms. Roth “was in the tank for the applicant” and that this is “Chinatown”.

Moving on to a different topic but very relevant related issue, how about the following two statements – A and B.

Which one made by a Commissioner, whose role is to set and debate policy and which one is made by staff, whose role is to provide information to support policy decisions by the Commissioners and follow the lead of the Commission:

Statement A

X said that, at some point in this process, she would like to see a demonstration of the need to repower the plant and also the secondary impacts from both the repowering and the pipeline itself.

Statement B

X said the Commission would rely on the judgment of BPU as they have the expertise to determine the need for the repowering of this plant..

Before you answer, recall the appropriate roles of the Commissioners and the staff.

The answer is, in contradiction to the proper the roles of Commission and staff, Statement A – posing the policy question – was made by Commissioner Ashmum, while Statement B – resolving the policy question and setting policy – was made by Director Wittenberg (readers can confirm in minutes).

This is why I advised the Commission to get Ms. Wittenberg under control.

At the close of yesterday’s Pinelands Commission meeting, a few Commissioners chastised the public regarding what they viewed as public attacks on staff. They specifically mentioned Ms. Roth and Ms. Wittenberg and I assume that they were reacting to my criticism.

Going even beyond that, Director Wittenberg was caught on tape saying that she thought the public would “crucify” the chief staff scientist.

So, instead of responding to valid criticisms, there clearly seems to be a coordinated effort to deflect criticism and attack the public critics.

So, I now have one question and it’s not a multiple choice:


1) the Kabuki on October 11, when Chairman Lohbauer purportedly directed and authorized staff to begin drafting a MOA  – a cynical move clearly designed to create the false impression that the MOA process was just beginning when in fact that a MOA was stated as a fait accompli back on April 12 and included in the BPU June 21, 2103 Order approving the pipeline route; and;

2) the role of Ms. Wittenberg revealed in the above statement and on the audio tape from the September 13 meeting, I ask:

Do the Commissioners think we are stupid?

(after all, we have them on tape saying they “don’t care what the public thinks” and that we needed to be treated “like Kindergartners”)

[End note: and after all she was called out on these biased statements, unsubstantiated conclusions, and misstatements of fact, Ms. Roth then went on to attack public critics and effectively issue a waiver to her stern warning to Commissioners about setting a “bad precedent”:

I think it is a very dangerous precedent to set to start allowing people who are clearly not impartial to come in here and represent something to you as science that is in fact opinion. Then you end up with dueling experts. And this is not the forum for that…. Then we’d have to go out an get an academic or consultant. ~~~ Pinelands Counselor Roth

Does Ms. Roth believe that South Jersey Gas Co. or the BPU  – who spent hours with staff – are “impartial”???

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