pine barrens
Jim Lukach

Sometimes governments actually make good decisions about the environmental resources they oversee. Sometimes this even happens in New Jersey — which, contrary to popular belief, is not covered entirely in highways and suburban developments and does have natural resources worth saving. At least one natural resource!

Among these natural resources (there’s more than one, we’re KIDDING), the most extensive and environmentally valuable is the Pinelands. (If you’re a John McPhee fan, you know these woods by their older name, the Pine Barrens.) This million-acre expanse of scrubby pine trees and wetlands takes up almost one-fifth of New Jersey, has a number of unique species in it, and, oh yeah, overlays a gigantic aquifer of pure water. So, naturally, an energy company wanted to run a 22-mile gas pipeline through this area.

But the New Jersey Pinelands Commission said no. Jeff Tittel, the long-suffering director of New Jersey’s Sierra Club, told the New York Times this was the “biggest environmental win we’ve had” in the years since Chris Christie took office. (A governor who takes a helicopter to a baseball game is not generally a boon for green causes.)

Just remember this: Even people in New Jersey care about trees, sometimes. When they can find them.