Pallotta Calls on NJ-05 Freeholders to Oppose “Farmland and Forest Destruction Act”

September 4, 2020

Republican candidate for Congress, Frank Pallotta, called on the Freeholder Boards of Bergen, Passaic, Sussex, and Warren Counties to pass resolutions opposing Governor Murphy and Senator Smith’s Farmland and Forest Destruction Act (S-2605). Pallotta asked incumbent Democrat Josh Gottheimer to stand up for the environment and join him in calling for bipartisan united opposition to replacing farmland and forests with solar power plants of 800 or more acres.  

“It is beyond me how anyone with any consideration for New Jersey’s forests and farmland would support this plan, or even remain silent on it like Josh Gottheimer and his buddies have. Upon reading the agenda, it is more than evident that New Jersey’s Fifth District would be greatly affected, and our elected officials must step up to the plate to defend our residents. I am calling on every single Freeholder in NJ-05 to oppose the “Farmland and Forest Destruction Act”, and tell Gov. Murphy as well as Senator Bob Smith that tackling climate change cannot and will not take away from our precious farmland and forests.”

He continued: “I am running for Congress to represent every resident of my District and to protect the natural landscape that is their inheritance. I call on Josh Gottheimer to step up and join me in a bipartisan effort to oppose this dangerous legislation.”  

Pointing to a report in Wednesday’s Philadelphia Inquirer, Pallotta noted:  

“Josh Gottheimer’s fellow New Jersey Democrats have introduced a new energy plan that will result in the permanent destruction of thousands of acres of farmland and forests. Taking his cue from Phil and Tammy Murphy, State Senator Bob Smith (D-17), the boss of the powerful Senate Environmental Committee, has introduced a new plan to install solar panels on farm and forest land across New Jersey. The Democrats’ plan restores taxpayer-supported subsidies to corporations and their hedge fund backers in order to make these solar projects economically profitable.  

Farmers, taxpayers, and environmental groups like the Sierra Club all oppose this plan.  Michelle Byers, Executive Director of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, said the bill would toss a law that currently steers solar arrays toward brown fields, landfills, rooftops and parking lots.  Peter Furey, Executive Director of the New Jersey Farm Bureau, said the solar bill has the potential to change the landscape.

Furey told the Inquirer: ‘We don’t want energy interests coming in and dictating to local planning boards.  We don’t want it on prime agricultural land.’ 

If Josh Gottheimer is serious about his commitment to the environment, then he should immediately take a stand against this disastrous idea being pushed by his party and protect the taxpayers of the Fifth District from it.