TRENTON, NJ- Today Governor Murphy announced his appointments to the Pinelands Commission, an independent state agency that presides over the Pinelands National Reserve. 

“The Pinelands are one of New Jersey’s crown jewels, and its importance to our natural heritage cannot be overstated,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director of New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. “Governor Murphy is making good on his promises to make science-based decision making a top priority in our state. The Christie Administration politicized the Pinelands Commission and filled it with members who would green light 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.”

Appointments to the Commission are:

Kelly Mooij, Vice President of Government Affairs at New Jersey Audubon, an attorney specializing in environmental law, and Trustee of New Jersey League of Conservation Voters

Theresa Lettman, former staff member of Pinelands Preservation Alliance and trustee of the Natural Lands Trust

“Kelly Mooij’s qualifications for the Pinelands Commission are impeccable.  I have had the distinct honor to work with Ms. Mooij as a colleague for many years and continue to be impressed with her dedication and tenacity.  She is passionate about preservation and committed to ensuring future generations will inherit a cleaner and greener Garden State. Combined with her unique experience in environmental law, policy, and New Jersey’s dynamic and fragile ecology, Ms. Mooij is certain to find distinction on the Pinelands Commission,” explained Potosnak.

Last year, New Jersey LCV and our partners at Pinelands Preservation Alliance received nearly 5,000 signatures from environmental voters across New Jersey on a petition supporting changes to the Pinelands Commission and its leadership.

New Jersey LCV also sent a letter in March of 2018 to Governor Murphy and his staff regarding Ms. Candace Ashmun, the longest serving member of the Pinelands Commission who was seeking retirement, joining Ms. Ashmun in recommending Theresa Lettman as her replacement. Potosnak cites her decades of hard work and dedication, and says she wishes to step down “in her young age of 93 in annual years, and as a leap year baby, just 23.”

“I would be remiss if I did not speak about Candace McKee Ashmun, or Candy as she is affectionately known, the first-ever and longest-serving Pinelands Commissioner. I strongly believe she should be known as the godmother of the Pinelands. She has done more than any other person since Governors Byrne and Florio to make efforts to preserve the Pinelands successful,” said Potosnak.

“These appointments are just what the Pinelands Commission needs—members who will prioritize the planning of the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan, stop dangerous development, and promote smart growth that protects the Pinelands,” said Potosnak. “We urge Senate President Sweeney and Senate Judiciary Chairman Scutari to quickly move forward confirming these much-needed, high quality, appointments,” he concluded.