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By ARep | November 19th, 2012 - 11:41am
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DiMAIO’S GREEN ACRES/BLUE ACRES BILLS
RECEIVE COMMITTEE APPROVAL

Flood prone areas of Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren Counties will benefit from a set of bills approved today by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Assembly Republican Appropriations Officer John DiMaio, R-Warren, Hunterdon and Somerset, is a co-sponsor of all three bills.

“Over the past year, people across the state have become keenly aware of the devastating effects a storm can have on their lives and livelihoods,” DiMaio said. “An important benefit of the Blue Acres and Green Acres programs is the opportunity for towns to acquire land from willing sellers that is vulnerable to flooding and may help in buffering surrounding properties, as well as continuing our efforts to conserve land and protect nature’s habitats.”

The first bill, A-3368, appropriates $45 million from the “2009 Green Acres Fund” and $12 million from the “2009 Blue Acres Fund” for the potential acquisition of lands by the state for 12 projects approved by the Department of Environmental Protection and the Garden State Preservation trust. The voters previously approved these appropriations three years ago.

The preservation projects to be funded include the areas of the Crossroads of American, the Delaware and Raritan Canal Greenway, Delaware Rover Watershed Greenway, Ridge and Valley Greenway and Highlands Greenway, as well as the historic resources in Franklin Twp. (Somerset County) and Holland Township.

The second bill, A-3369, appropriates $55 million from the “2009 Green Acres Fund” and $2.4 million from the “1995 Coastal Blue Acres Fund” for potential land purchase by local governments. The third bill, A-3370, allocates $8.9 million in Green Acres funds to non-profit organizations, $6.6 million of which will go towards acquisition projects and $2.3 million will be used for park development projects.

The Green Acres program is intended to provide financial assistance in order to acquire open space for recreation and conservation purposes. The Blue Acres program is overseen by Green Acres and provides State grants and low-interest loans to help towns and counties purchase properties that may be prone to damage caused by storms. The 1995 Blue Acres monies are available for buying properties on a coastal barrier island or within 150 feet of the mean high water line of any tidal waters.

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