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Four former NJ governors urge LG Electronics to preserve landmark Palisades

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/ 06/06/13

FAR HILLS - New Jersey Conservation Foundation applauds four former governors of New Jersey for speaking out to protect the Palisades while encouraging sound development -recommending a win-win resolution of a mounting controversy.

Governors Brendan Byrne, Thomas Kean, James Florio and Christine Todd Whitman jointly sent a letter to the CEO of LG Electronics, Bon-Joon Koo, urging the company to reconsider the high-rise design of its proposed new corporate headquarters in Englewood Cliffs.

The proposed office tower, they pointed out in a letter dated June 5, would rise high above the treeline - four times higher than what has been allowed for decades - interrupt an historic natural vista and set a precedent for greater building heights next to miles of parkland along the Hudson River upstream of the George Washington Bridge. The Palisades were designated a National Natural Landmark in 1983.

The governors requested consideration of a low-rise design that fully accommodates the company's needs for new office space while ensuring the integrity of the Palisades ridgeline and park.

The Palisades have remained a landscape of unbroken, natural beauty in a heavily developed metropolitan area, appreciated by generations of residents and visitors, wrote the four governors.

Michele Byers, executive director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation, said she is thankful for the leadership of Governors Byrne, Kean, Florio and Whitman on this issue. The Palisades have stood as an iconic American landmark for centuries, and it is wonderful that such respected leaders and former governors of our state have spoken out in support of their continued preservation.

The four governors, Byers noted, have all made enormous contributions to our state's environment and their legacies are well known.

Below is the letter sent by the four governors:

Dear Vice-Chairman Koo,

We, the undersigned former Governors of the State of New Jersey ask for your consideration of our request regarding your proposal to erect a new headquarters building in New Jersey. LG Electronics has been a welcome member of the Bergen County community for many years, and the jobs and overall investment of your company make an important contribution to the economy of New Jersey. In that regard, we understand that LG plans to construct its new building in Englewood Cliffs, by the Palisades Interstate Park.

The Palisades have remained a landscape of unbroken, natural beauty in a heavily developed metropolitan area, appreciated by generations of residents and visitors. The dramatic formation that inspired painters of the Hudson River School of American Artists in the 19th century has been protected for over 100 years through the efforts of citizens and elected officials. The Palisades are included in the National Natural Landmarks Program administered by the National Parks Service, and are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.The Palisades are one of the great landscapes of New Jersey, forming a scenic gateway to the most densely populated state, and a recreational resource enjoyed by millions.

As currently designed, LG's proposed office building would rise high above the tree line - 143 feet above graderoughly four times higher than the existing 35-foot limit that has been maintained in this area for decades. We are concerned that this tower would not only interrupt the historic, natural vista enjoyed by millions, but would also set a precedent for greater building
heights stretching northward along these iconic cliffs, eroding the unique
American landmark of the Palisades.

Given your generously sized 27-acre site, it is our hope that a beneficial resolution can be reached through a low-rise design that fully accommodates the company's needs for new office space while ensuring the integrity of the Palisades ridgeline and park. Such a balanced approach would enable economic development at the same time as a critical natural asset is preserved for the future. Finally, your willingness to respect and protect one of America's National Natural Landmarks would be a lasting legacy for LG.

We appreciate your consideration of our request.

Sincerely,

Governor Brendan T. Byrne
Governor Thomas H. Kean
Governor James J. Florio
Governor Christine Todd Whitman

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