Environmentalists press N.J. to include open-space funding question on ballot

 Preserved land along Great Egg Harbor River in New Jersey. (Nathaniel Hamilton/for NewsWorks)

Preserved land along Great Egg Harbor River in New Jersey. (Nathaniel Hamilton/for NewsWorks)

Environmental advocates are urging New Jersey lawmakers to approve a measure that would put an open-space preservation plan on the November ballot.

New Jersey’s program to fund acquisition of land to preserve open space, farmland, and historic sites has been depleted.

A measure awaiting legislative approval would allow voters to decide whether 4 percent of the existing corporate business tax already dedicated to environmental programs should be used for open space acquisition.

Without it, Tom Gilbert, the chairman of the New Jersey Keep It Green coalition, said there will be negative consequences.

“There will be impacts on our water quality. There’s going to be loss of productive farmland,” he said. “There are going to be lands that lose their natural flood protection cover.”

The measure is expected to come up for a vote in the Senate later this week. Supporters are hoping the Assembly leadership also brings it up for consideration.

In order to be on the November ballot, it has to be passed by a two-thirds majority of the Legislature by Aug. 2.

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