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Christie BPU Commissioners Literally Run and Hide From Protesters of Pinelands Pipeline

Commissioners show contempt for democracy

BPU President Mroz is an unethical flat out liar

BPU President Mroz (Source: BlueJersey video)

BPU President Mroz (Source: BlueJersey video)

Protesters disrupted the BPU rubber stamp approval of the NJ Natural Gas Co.’s Orwellian named “Southern Reliability Link” pipeline through the Pinelands today.

Showing their utter disregard and contempt for democracy, BPU President Mroz immediately gaveled the meeting into adjournment and the BPU Commissioners abandoned their seats and left the room to avoid listening to the protesters.

The protest marks a new and escalating tactical engagement in pipeline opposition in NJ. I applaud the protesters and look forward to more and greater events. I had planned to participate, but last minute problems beyond my control kept me away this morning.

The BPU approval pre-empted local government powers to regulate the pipeline, extinguishing the democratic rights of residents of six towns the pipeline passes through.

I’ve written extensively about the many flaws and frauds in the pipeline project and NJ Spotlight ran a set up story, and BlueJersey has good video to watch of the protest event, so I won’t go into much detail with this post.

I must note a few things in response to the lengthy statement read into the record by BPU President Mroz at the end of the hearing.

1. As a former advocate and employee of some of the corporations involved in this project, by any reasonable application of ethical standards, BPU President Mroz has a glaring conflict of interest.

His continued participation in approvals of pipelines and other infrastructure financed by his former corporate cronies is obscene.

2. Mroz repeated what he knows to be two false and manufactured justifications of the pipeline: a) so called “resiliency” as a response to Superstorm Sandy; and b) need for gas at Joint Base MDL.

There is ample evidence in the record that documents these false justifications, and the Joint Base rationale is fraudulent and may constitute criminal activity.

The PPA’s BPU petition destroys the false argument about “resilience” – no transmission pipeline has ever been knocked out by a storm – and documents the real purposes of the pipeline, which are to serve future growth and expand profits at the subsidy and expense of ratepayers.

[Note: there is very plausible speculation that the real goal of this massive 30 inch 722 psi pipeline is to serve a new gas plant at the Oyser Creek nuclear site when it closes in 2019.]

3. Mroz stated that the pipeline was “approved by the Pinelands Commission” as consistent with the Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP).

LET ME BE CLEAR: That is a LIE –


The so called approval and CMP consistently determination was issued unilaterally by Gov. Christie’s installed Executive Director Nancy Wittenberg – not the Commission – who was following Orders of the Governor’s Office, not the direction of the ┬áPinelands Commission or the requirements of the CMP.

Wittenberg also directly participated in the fabricated fraudulent military need justification to evade Pinelands regulations.

4. The BPU completely ignored climate change.

That is grossly irresponsible.

The debate now shifts to the Courts – let’s hope they uphold the law and reject this fraud and travesty.

Thanks to the Pinelands Preservation Alliance for filing the lawsuit. Maybe this can remain tied up in the courts long enough for the next Governor to kill it.

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