Gov. Phil Murphy has nominated three longtime environmental activists to the New Jersey Highlands Council.
The governor submitted the names of Rutgers Professor Daniel Van Abs, a longtime member of the New Jersey Clean Water Council, Wynnie-Fred Victor Hinds, a member of the Newark Environmental Commission, and environmental lawyer Bill Kibler to the Senate today.
“Ensuring clean drinking water, economic vitality, and a thriving ecosystem in the New Jersey Highlands is of existential importance to the millions of residents that rely on the health of that region,” Murphy said. “The responsibility of protecting the Highlands is one our Administration does not take lightly, and the promise of a fully operational Highlands Council is one that I am proud to fulfill.”
Van Abs is an associate professor for Water, Society and the Environment at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. He was first named to the Clean Water Council by Gov. Richard Codey in 2005 and served as chairman from 2014 to 2015.
Hinds, the Executive Director of Stepping Stones Resources, was named to the city’s Environmental Commission by Mayor Ras Baraka in 2015. She is the Newark West Ward Climate Resiliency Coordinator for the New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance and a member of the grassroots Newark Water Group.
Kibler, a self-described “Tree Hugger,” was the Executive Director of the South Branch Watershed Association from 2005 until Raritan Headwaters was created in 2011. He is a West Point graduate who served with the Army Corps of Engineers and as the Chief of the Califon Fire Department.
“These three excellent candidates will add tremendous knowledge and support to the Council’s important work,” said Julia Somers, Executive Director of the New Jersey Highlands Coalition. “We thank the Governor for making such thoughtful, stellar appointment recommendations, and look forward to their being approved quickly by the State Senate. It’s gratifying to know such great candidates are prepared to work on behalf of their home State. I am sure they will be welcomed by the Council.”