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August 8, 2011

The Pinelands Preservation Alliance recommends supporters take eight actions in order to help make positive change with regard to Pinelands protection. The first is to write to local newspapers protesting the fact that the Pinelands Commission has not instituted land-use strategies to stop degradation of water quality.

The alliance aims most of its ire at the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and urges the public to contact to DEP Commissioner Bob Martin, telling him of concerns in a number of areas. The Alliance wants the public to protest DEP's proposed rule that would authorize widespread discretionary waivers of environmental protections for the benefit of developers that don’t want to follow the law. Also, the group wants to pressure Martin to designate a site for legal Off-Road Vehicle use. Illegal riding on private and public property is causing severe environmental damage. The Alliance is also concerned that DEP wants to prevent comment on private forestry operations.

The State Soil Conservation Committee seems to be more concerned with making things easy for builders than for protecting Pinelands area soils, according to the alliance. It is also disturbed that the Ocean County Freeholders seem to be in a "state of denial" about the scientific issues negatively impacting the Barnegat Bay ecosystem, since they have actively opposed bills aimed at restoring the area's ecology.

The alliance supports two issues and urges the public to voice their support. First, it backs a Prescribed Burn bill that has been introduced in the legislature. The intent of the bill is to promote burning for ecological purposes and to minimize wildfires. The alliance is also supportive of Barnegat Township for not buckling under pressure and continuing to refuse to remove 38 acres from the Ocean Acres conservation zone in order to build 135 homes.

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