Home > Uncategorized > KIG Now Says “Hard Choices” Are Needed on Open Space Funding Decisions

KIG Now Says “Hard Choices” Are Needed on Open Space Funding Decisions

Cuts Must Be Restored

Reforms and Ignored Needs Must Be Addressed

Dishonesty and Self Serving Hypocrisy Must Not Be Rewarded

Yesterday, in a wonderful profile of longtime environmental lawyer Ed Lloyd, NJ Spotlight asked Ed a key question:

Why is the environmental community so fractured? 

I was planning on writing about that, but another NJ Spotlight story today provides a superb answer to that very question, so we’ll hold off on the larger reasons why the community is so fractured and just focus on the open space disaster.

While I have been reaching out to give folks a heads up about next Monday’s Senate Environment Committee hearing on open space funding, I was going to wait until the weekend before writing about it.

But today’s NJ Spotlight set up story accelerates that schedule, see:

It is absolutely outrageous that Keep It Green and NJ Highlands and NJ Sierra Club all have done a 180 and are now talking about “hard choices” that need to be made – with Sierra Club even championing urban parks when they supported a ballot question that stole the entire $32 million State Parks capital budget!

Hard choices?


Why were  voters never told about those “hard choices” BEFORE they voted to steal the parks and DEP money?

The Keep it Green proponents spent over $700,000 on a highly misleading campaign that in some cases flat out lied to voters.

[Correction: KIG spent $964,559 – a million dollars! In a deceptive campaign!]

No member non-profit group should get a thin dime of that money until at least 4 conditions are met: 1) ALL the diversions are restored; 2) until urban NJ gets their fair share of the money;  3) cost controls and planning reforms are mandated; and 4) long ignored needs – like climate change and environmental justice – are addressed.

The scarcity of the resources available for huge unmet and competing needs strongly argues for “wholesale changes” to the existing green acres and farmland preservation and blue acres programs.

I laid out a series of the kind of reforms that are necessary in this post:

Additionally, there are long ignored basic issues of fairness and environmental justice for urban NJ that must be addressed, see:

And, there are new and long ignored needs that require that existing funds be re-programmed to fund new activities.

Specific new program needs include urban parks, urban forestry, community gardens, urban farmers markets, and responding to NJ’s urban food deserts (communities that lack access to fresh produce).

Some of these needs could be addressed by requiring preserved farms to grow local food and allocation of a significant (50%) portion of farmland preservation portion of the funds to develop expanded local food programs, urban farmers markets , etc that reduce existing food deserts.

I outlined the equity, social justice, and new program needs in this post:

Not one penny of the new Fund should be appropriated until the State Parks and DEP program diversions are restored; fairness and justice addressed; and cost controls and a planning process put in place.

Of course, the new “stewardship” program is last in line. And that “stewardship” program is not even defined yet so it is premature to fund it.

The hearing is on Monday at 10 am in Trenton – if you can’t be there, call members of the Committee and let them know how you feel.

Environment and Energy   (Group1)
Standing Reference
View Schedule 
Smith, Bob – Chair    View Votes 
Greenstein, Linda R. – Vice-Chair    View Votes 
Bateman, Christopher    View Votes 
Codey, Richard J.    View Votes 
Thompson, Samuel D.    View Votes 
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