Trenton - Five bills that appropriate voter-approved funds for farmland and historic preservation in New Jersey passed with bipartisan, unanimous support in the state legislature last night.
The package includes five bills (S3568/A5320, S3570/A5318, S3573/A5317, S3575/A5321, S3595/A5319), four of which appropriate roughly $29 million for farmland preservation, and one appropriating about $5 million for historic preservation. Members of New Jersey Keep It Green (KIG), the state’s largest coalition of conservation groups fighting to preserve open space, farmland, and historic sites were in Trenton during the voting session.
“It is so important to keep the funds flowing to these projects,” said Ed Potosnak, New Jersey Keep It Green Chair. “These preservation efforts are essential to protect New Jersey’s clean drinking water, wildlife, parks, rich history, forests and farms. These critical funds will ensure state, counties, and organizations have the financial resources they need to do this important work of preserving our way of life for generation to come.”
“Our history and our farmlands are part of what makes New Jersey unique,” said Kelly Mooij, New Jersey KIG Coordinator. “We are thrilled to see the state legislature follow through with the will of the voters who overwhelmingly voted to save open space and historic sites in New Jersey.”
The funds approved on Monday are the result of the voter-approved constitution dedication which KIG shepherded in 2014. The bills now await Governor Christie’s signature. Once signed they will bring the total of voter dedicated open space funding from the 2014 public question to over $254 million.
NJ Keep It Green is a coalition of more than 150 park and conservation organizations working to create a long-term, dedicated source of funding for the preservation and stewardship of New Jersey’s natural areas, waterways, parks, farmland and historic sites. NJ Keep It Green led successful campaigns to pass statewide ballot measures in 2006, 2007, and 2009 generating $600 million for state open space, farmland and historic preservation programs. In 2014, NJ Keep It Green helped pass a constitutional dedication to create a consistent, stable funding source for these preservation programs. NJ Keep It Green also created Open Space Month, which dedicates the month of June to highlighting and preserving the natural beauty of our state. For more information or to sign the NJ Keep It Green Statement of Support, visit www.njkeepitgreen.org.