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Beach Bills To Appropriate Funds For Clean Water And Farmland Preservation Projects Clear Senate Committees

TRENTON – Two measures sponsored by Senator Jim Beach which would appropriate funds for clean water and farmland preservation projects around the State were approved today by Senate Committees.

One measure, S-2797, would establish a “Clean Water State Revolving Fund” within the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to determine how to best utilize the federal stimulus funds authorized and appropriated through the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.”

“These funds would help to cover the cost of clean water projects throughout the State of New Jersey,” said Senator Beach, D-Camden. “The federal stimulus dollars have already been appropriated so there will be no additional cost to taxpayers. It is our responsibility to ensure that we use the funds where they are most needed.”

The DEP would be authorized to make grants, zero interest loans, principal forgiveness or negative interest loans from the Fund for clean water environmental infrastructure projects listed in the Fiscal Years 2009 and 2010 budgets.

The DEP would also be authorized to transfer all available funds within the existing Clean Water Fund to the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.

The measure was approved by the Senate Environment Committee.

A second measure, S-2713 would appropriate $49.6 million from the “2007 Farmland Preservation Fund” to be used for planning incentive grants, farmland development and preservation was approved today by the both the Senate Budget and Appropriations and the Senate Economic Growth Committees.

“By freeing up these existing funds, we would be helping local farmers cultivate and acquire land, because as our population grows, so will the amount of space needed for crops and farmland preservation,” said Senator Beach. “More specifically, my district would receive $4 million for farmland in Waterford and Winslow Townships. During these tough economic times, funding like this will allow farmers to continue producing the high quality crops for which the ‘Garden State’ is known. This will benefit District 6, at no additional cost to taxpayers.”

Both measures now head to the full Senate for approval.