Atlantic County may have a new Pinelands commissioner after the Board of Chosen Freeholders meeting Tuesday.

Paul Galletta, co-owner of Atlantic Blueberries in Hammonton, is resigning his seat after 12 years on the commission, he said Monday.

Buena engineer Jerome H. Irick, the president of the Atlantic County Board of Agriculture, is on the agenda to be appointed to replace him.

"It was time to step down," said Galletta, citing business, family and some health issues. "But I am feeling good now."

He said he has gotten to know Irick over the last year, and said Irick is well qualified to be on the commission with lots of "common sense and compassion."

Galletta said he treasures his land preservation work on the commission the most, and the lifelong friends he made there, particularly among the staff members.

"Almost 50 percent of the land in the Pinelands has been preserved," he said, through various purchase and/or protection programs, including farmland preservation. "All sides of the table feel good about that. There were times we disagreed, but we could always get along." 

The 15 commissioners disagreed about how to handle an application by South Jersey Gas to build a 22-mile pipeline from Maurice River Township to the B.L. England electric plant in Beesley's Point in Upper Township. It needed commission approval to travel through 10 miles of protected Pinelands Forest.

In 2014 the commission narrowly voted not to approve the piepline, then after some new commissioners joined the board, it voted in favor of it in early 2017.

Galletta voted in favor of the pipeline both times.

But the pipeline's approval is now dead, after the plant's owner R.C. Cape May Holdings announced it no longer planned to convert he plant from coal and  oil to natural gas. It will close the plant for good instead in May.

Contact: 609-272-7219

Twitter @MichelleBPost

Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

Download The Press of Atlantic City App

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

PLEASE BE ADVISED: Soon we will no longer integrate with Facebook for story comments. The commenting option is not going away, however, readers will need to register for a FREE site account to continue sharing their thoughts and feedback on stories. If you already have an account (i.e. current subscribers, posting in obituary guestbooks, for submitting community events), you may use that login, otherwise, you will be prompted to create a new account.

Load comments