- Associated Press - Thursday, October 16, 2014

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - State lawmakers declined to vote on a pair of Gov. Chris Christie’s nominees for a Pinelands regulatory panel Thursday, nine months after the agency defeated a plan to run a natural-gas pipeline through the region.

The state Senate’s Judiciary Committee interviewed Robert S. Barr and Dennis Roohr for the Pinelands Commission. They would replace two commissioners whose three-year terms have expired.

A vote had been expected but was postponed indefinitely.

The hearing drew about 25 environmental advocates and opponents of the nominees to the statehouse steps. They carried signs that read “No Means No!” and “Don’t Gas The Pines.”

The groups characterized the delayed vote as a victory.

“It’s really about the future of New Jersey,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “This vote today is not about a pipeline. It’s about the future of the Pinelands, because once they do this not only will the Pinelands become the pipe lands, it will become the sprawl lands and the condo lands and everything else.”

Christie tapped Barr to succeed Robert Jackson, while Roohr would replace D’Arcy Rohan Green. Jackson and Green voted in January against the pipeline. The panel stalemated, 7-7, blocking the project.

A spokesman for Christie criticized the vote’s delay and said Barr and Roohr are “objectively qualified.”

“It is another sign that this is just more baseless nonsense from agenda-driven critics who oppose any action by this Administration, no matter how factually sound the policy or how qualified the candidate,” Christie spokesman Kevin Roberts said in an email.

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