Trenton – In an effort to ensure New Jersey schools are meeting the state’s environmental goals, the Senate today released legislation sponsored by Senator Bob Smith that would require school districts to include an environmental sustainability plan in their long-range facilities plan.
“As a state, we have big goals in mind to combat climate change, with achieving 100 percent clean energy by 2050 being one of them,” said Senator Smith (D-Middlesex/Somerset). “There are currently close to 600 school districts in New Jersey, meaning that schools take up a large portion of the State’s infrastructure and as a result are responsible for consuming a large amount of carbon energy. By requiring our school districts to look into means to become more sustainable, we can set a precedent for the rest of New Jersey to also find ways to be more environmentally friendly. We only get one Earth, and we must find real solutions to reverse some of the damage done by climate change before it is too late.”
The bill, S-434, would require school districts to include an environmental sustainability plan in their long-range facilities plan that is submitted to the Commissioner of Education every five years. The plan currently includes projected enrollment, building capacities, health and safety conditions, and any anticipated facilities projects in the district. Under the bill, the long-range facilities plan would be expanded to also include the environmental impact of district facilities and operations and goals for improving sustainability.
The bill was approved by the Senate by a vote of 26-10.