N.J. voters say yes to open space initiative

The pipeline for the purchase of open space — with the goal of preventing that land from being developed — remains open in the Garden State.

On Election Day, Nov. 3, a majority of people who went to the polls, by a count of 52 percent to 48 percent, voted to continue funding to the state’s preservation programs.

Funding for the Green Acres program, the farmland preservation program, and the New Jersey Historic Trust will now continue for the next two years, giving New Jersey’s leaders time to identify a longterm funding source for these programs, according to a press release.

In the meantime, the $400 million in approved funding will:

• Preserve sources of clean drinking water.

• Protect water quality in New Jersey’s rivers, lakes and streams.

• Preserve wildlife habitat, working farms, historic sites and natural areas.

• Invest in the state’s ecological resources that save on the high costs of degradation, protect New Jersey’s multibillion dollar outdoor tourism industries, and create jobs restoring natural and historic landmarks.

• Cost each household less than $1 per month.

• Require continued full public disclosure of all spending.

• Leave a legacy for future generations.

“Once again New Jersey voters have affirmed their commitment to continuing efforts to protect clean water and open spaces for our children and grandchildren,” said Tom Gilbert of the Trust for Public Land, and chair of the New Jersey Keep It Green Campaign of more than 135 organizations.

“This demonstrates that even in difficult economic times, voters understand these are wise investments, and believe we must maintain our commitment to preserving New Jersey’s land, water and history,” Gilbert said.

“Once again, New Jersey voters have shown their commitment to protecting land and other natural resources,” said Michele Byers of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation. “They know a good investment when they see one – and they voted with their hearts and their wallets when they voted yes on Question No. 1 today.”

“Preserving open space has become a way of life for New Jersey residents,” said David Epstein, president of the Land Conservancy of New Jersey. “Today voters showed they recognize the value of New Jersey’s landmark preservation programs, even in tough economic times.”