TRENTON, NJ— As the most densely populated state, New Jersey has been a leader among the states taking aggressive action to protect remaining lands like farms, forests, parks, and historic sites.
The Garden State dedicated an average of $200 million a year for open space funding since the creation of the Garden State Preservation Trust in 1998. Voters have consistently supported measures to set aside funds for this important preservation work. Recently, voters approved the Green Acres, Water Supply and Floodplain Protection, and Farmland and Historic Preservation Bond Act of 2009, authorizing $400 million for open space, farmland, and historic preservation.
These funds are fully allocated, and legislative action is needed now to continue New Jersey's legacy of open space, farmland, and historic site preservation.
On Thursday, June 20th the New Jersey State Senate considered a much needed measure to put a question on the ballot this November asking voters to dedicate a small portion (one-fifth of a cent) of existing sales tax revenues to provide a long term and sustainable funding source for continued open space, farmland and historic preservation. These funds would also be used to dedicate preservation funds for the incredibly successful Green Acres program, as well as Blue Acres projects to buy-out flood-impacted properties in both inland and coastal areas and to protect undeveloped coastal watershed and riparian lands to help prevent future flood damage.
The measure, SCR 138 was supported overwhelming by the New Jersey State Senate with a final vote tally of 36 for, 2 against and 2 abstentions.
"Unfortunately, Senators Beck and Thompson voted to deny New Jerseyans the opportunity to vote this November on an important measure to preserve Open Space, farmland, historic sites and buy back flood prone properties in the Garden State.," Ed Potosnak, Executive Director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters explained.
Potosnak continued, "given that New Jersey is the most densely populated state and we are out of money to protect these important places, the opposition by Senators Thompson and Beck is deeply troubling. There is a moral obligation for us to protect our precious resources for future generations."
"We wanted to make sure the thousands of conservation minded voters in Senator Thompson's and Beck's districts knew about their disappointing position, so we called them," Potosnak explained. "Elections are coming up and it is important that voters understand where their elected officials stand on the issues. Thompson and Beck have chosen to stand in the way of preserving open space and their constituents need to know," Potosnak said.
NJLCV Political Action Committee made thousands of phone calls into the legislative districts of Senator Thompson (12) and Senator Beck (11). The calls (THOMPSON RECORDING http://njlcv.org/media/NJLCVPAC-Thompson_Open-Space_Call.wav; BECK RECORDING http://njlcv.org/media/NJLCVPAC-Beck_Open-Space_Call.wav) explained:
…League of Conservations Voters calling regarding Senator Thompson/Beck's recent vote denying you the chance to vote this November on an important measure to preserve Open Space, farmland, historic sites and buy back flood prone properties in the Garden State. New Jersey is out of money to protect these important places, and Senator Thompson/Beck's opposition promotes overdevelopment in your community. Call [them] to share your disappointment and this November when you vote remember [they] failed to protect our precious resources for future generations.
NJLCV Political Action Committee is working to elect pro-conservation candidates across the Garden State.
"There will be a lot more outreach on environmental issues to voters this year because NJLCV PAC is committed to greening the legislature. Our clean water and air are being threatened and as Hurricane Sandy elucidated, human induced climate change must be addressed now." said exclaimed.
"We are hopeful the Assembly takes up ACR 179 immediately to ensure voters will get to express their support for open space preservation on the ballot this November."
Press Release paid for by the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, PO BOX 1237 Trenton, NJ 08607. This expenditure was not made with the cooperation or prior consent of, or in consultation with, or at the request or suggestion of, any candidate, or person, or committee acting on behalf of the candidate.