State Pinelands Commissioners slam the brakes on a proposal to allow a natural gas transmission line to be placed through a strictly protected Forest Area Zone Wednesday. According to the Asbury Park Press, the panel said an $8-million dollar offer from South Jersey Gas for land preservation puts the credibility of the Pinelands Commission at stake.

The proposed Memorandum of Agreement calls for placing a 22-mile, 24-inch high-pressure gas line from Maurice River Township to the BL England Power Station in Upper Cape May County along a road easement .

Proponents say the gas line would facilitate the termination of coal burning and insure an adequate gas and electricity supply for a growing portion of the state. Critics say it's a gradual erosion of environmental protection rules and places the concept of protected land into question.

The gas pipeline proposal along with the draft MOA between South Jersey Gas and the Board of Public Utilities will be the subject of a public hearing 5 p.m. Dec. 9 at the Galloway Township Municipal Building.