Trenton – In the name of promoting sustainability at the local level, the Senate advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal and Senator Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz that would establish within the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) a special non-lapsing fund that would be known as the “Sustainable New Jersey Fund” and appropriate $1 million.
“New Jersey’s public institutions of higher learning have a long tradition of partnering with nonprofit groups to promote sustainability in our local governments and public schools. This legislation makes sure this defined public commitment to a sustainable future is carried on for our children and grandchildren,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth), Chair of the Senate Education Committee.
Under the bill, the DCA would annually distribute moneys in the fund to public institutions of higher education that have an existing contractual relationship with a qualified nonprofit organization that offers certifications and grants to municipalities and public schools across the State in efforts to realize environmental, economic, and social sustainability.
“Working toward a sustainable future must be a team effort, requiring all of our institutions, including towns, universities and our many respected non-profits to continue to work to avert the mounting climate crisis,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “So many of our municipalities and public schools want to do more to join the fight, and this new funding source will offer incentive for them to get involved, and to help us achieve greater sustainability.”
One group that has done commendable work in this important public policy area has been Sustainable Jersey, which is partnered with The College of New Jersey. Sustainable Jersey’s grants have promoted, among other projects, the restoration of floodplains, as well as the creation of sustainable road infrastructure through bike lanes and pedestrian friendly design.
The bill, S-2857, was released by a vote of 37-0.