TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A government panel has approved a plan to construct part of a natural gas pipeline in New Jersey’s Pinelands.
Thursday’s Pinelands Commission vote was 8 to 4, with one abstention. The panel’s director in 2015 unilaterally approved the application, but the courts ruled the full commission must vote.
The Sierra Club and other groups challenged the New Jersey Natural Gas project, saying the 30-mile (48-kilometer) pipeline would destroy environmentally sensitive land and threaten communities along its route in Burlington, Ocean and Monmouth counties.
New Jersey Natural Gas says the project would provide a back-up source of natural gas to more than 1 million people.
The Pinelands National Reserve is made up of oak-pine forests, berry farms, wetlands and various plants.