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NJ SIERRA CLUB: Gov Signs Enviro Bills Into Law

 

Governor Murphy has signed the following bills into law on August 10th, 2018:

Green and Blue Acres S2728 (Codey) /A4210 (Armato) appropriates $15,294,000 from constitutionally dedicated CBT revenues to DEP for State acquisition of lands for recreation and conservation purposes, including Blue Acres projects. Blue Acres is a state program that allows buy outs of flood prone properties and helps to get people out of harm’s way. 

“Funding Green and Blue Acres is important, and we need to catch up. We’re only doing Green Acres every other year because the DEP doesn’t have enough staff to do it every year. It’s also important to fund Blue Acres because it’s the most effective way to protect people and property from flooding. It saves us money and protects surrounding properties as well. Buying out a home in a flood prone area is important because it allows the restoration of flood plains and protects other properties from damage. We need to expand this program because we need to relocate people out of areas where there will be future storms,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “We want to thank Governor Murphy and the Legislature for getting these important pieces of legislation passed and signed so we can fund our open spaces.”

Parks Funding S2729 (Greenstein)/A4211 (Reynolds-Jackson) appropriates $9.703 million from constitutionally dedicated CBT revenues for recreation and conservation purposes to DEP for State capital and park development projects. 

“We need these funds because there are massive backlogs and parks are falling apart without improvements for years. Voters have dedicated monies for capital repairs and improvements yet we have a $250 million backlog in emergency parks capital repairs. By 2015 it was supposed to be $30 million a year. Instead, we’re only seeing $9 million a year. Over the last decade the parks budget is down 40%, despite us adding 40% more open space. Ten years ago, there were 1,000 parks staff and now we have only around 400,” said Jeff Tittel. “We should be able to fully fund important park staff such as lifeguards who have necessary jobs by paying them a living wage. New Jersey’s people are suffering because we aren’t doing enough to keep our parks open and well-managed.”

The following bills concern environmental projects within the NJ Infrastructure Bank:

NJ Infrastructure Bank S2647 (Stack)/A4169 (Pinto Marin) authorizes NJ Infrastructure Bank to expend certain sums to make loans for environmental infrastructure projects for FY2019. 

NJ Infrastructure Bank S2646 (Sweeney)/A4170 (Taliaferro) appropriates funds to DEP for environmental infrastructure projects for FY2019.

“It’s important that we make sure we’re incorporate climate change into our infrastructure planning. Otherwise, we’ll be building to standards and levels that won’t stay the same. This could result in our money being washed away with sea level rise or the next storm surge. We also have major problems with lead including $8 billion worth of pipes that need to be fixed and reservoirs that need to be capped. We also need to tie fixing our infrastructure to energy efficiency and renewable energy as well as green building including blue and green roofs to reduce flooding. If we don’t consider climate change, we could end up wasting billions of dollars of taxpayer money,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “They changed the name but it’s still the same old system that doesn’t adequately deal with climate change or resiliency.”

source NJ Sierra Club

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