Since coming to Congress, I have made it a priority to work to preserve open space and protect the environment across our nation and in New Jersey.
I sponsored the Federal Highlands Conservation Act, which was signed into law in 2004. The landmark legislation helps protect open space and our region’s water supplies by funding the purchase of land currently at risk of development. The difference between this environmental effort and the other, more controversial state Highlands preservation programs is that this federal program only deals with “willing sellers” of land. The Highlands Conservation Act receives federal funding.
I will continue to lead the effort to protect New Jersey’s environment and make our state a cleaner and healthier place to live. In recent years, I worked to:
- Preserve and protect open space and critical drinking water supplies in the Highlands region.
- Introduce legislation to establish the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area in New Jersey. (http://revolutionarynj.org/). The Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area's Management Plan can be viewed at (http://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectID=30562).
- Advocate for our area's parks, Morristown National Historical Park, Thomas Edison National Historical Park, and Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, to name just a few.
- Secure a commitment from the National Park Service which led to the rehabilitation of the Morristown National Historical Park museum building, located within America’s oldest national historic park.(http://www.nps.gov/morr/)
- Secure support from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to purchase more acreage surrounding the Great Swamp Wildlife Refuge to protect its pristine wildlife and establish a visitor’s center. (http://www.fws.gov/refuge/great_swamp/)
- Champion statewide efforts to clean-up toxic waste at sites on the National Priority List of Superfund sites and demanding real results for the expenditure of dollars dedicated to cleanups.
- Work with the Environmental Protection Agency and members of the New Jersey Congressional Delegation to clean up the Passaic River- one of the dirtiest waterways in America. In June of 2008, an agreement was reached to remove 200,000 cubic yards of contaminated material from the river.
- Secure funding for the Passaic River Preservation project, which acquires wetlands properties for flood damage prevention.
- Preserve the 4,200 acre Great Piece Meadows near Lincoln Park and Fairfield.
- Work with The Lake Hopatcong Foundation to protect one of our district's most important natural resources. (http://www.lakehopatcongfoundation.org)
- Work to protect the original intent of the Endangered Species Act and oppose any attempt to weaken the law.
- Support legislation to extend tax incentives for conservation easements, which increases private land donations, providing a critical tool in the fight to preserve open space and farmland.
Congressman Frelinghuysen also succeeded in securing funding for purchases within the New Jersey Highlands, the most significant Federal commitment ever to preserving open space from willing sellers in this critical area. Preserving the New Jersey Highlands is and should be a major federal priority. A major source of drinking water and in the most densely populated metropolitan area in the country, the Highlands is a critical area in need of protection. In 2004 President Bush signed H.R. 1964, the Highlands Conservation Act, into law. Introduced by Frelinghuysen, this legislation directs critical funding to the Highlands region of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. To date, funding has been used to protect multiple parcels across our region including a section of the Wyanokie Highlands in the Borough of Bloomingdale and over 800 acres of land in the Township of Jefferson.
Congressman Frelinghuysen praises the formal conveyance of the 835-acre “Baker Firestone property” to Jefferson Township and the State of New Jersey.
MORRISTOWN NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK
Congressman Frelinghuysen has championed funding for museum renovations. New Jersey’s 11th district is fortunate to be the home of our nation’s oldest and most historic National Park, Morristown National Historical Park. Working with the Park Service and the Washington Association, Congressman Frelinghuysen has been leading the effort to secure dollars for the Park and to help renovate the museum.
For more information on Morristown National Historical Park, please visit http://www.nps.gov/morr/index.htm.
THE CROSSROADS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
Two hundred and thirty years ago New Jersey was at the crossroads of America's Revolutionary War. Today, there are nearly 300 sites in New Jersey with direct ties to the American Revolution. Among the landmarks are Washington’s Headquarters in Morristown, Jockey Hollow, the Old Trenton Barracks, the Dey Mansion in Wayne, the Princeton, Monmouth, and Red Bank battlefields, and the Great Falls of the Passaic. Congressman Frelinghuysen introduced H.R. 87, legislation to recognize the critical role our state played in the American Revolution. This legislation was included in the National Heritage Areas Act of 2005, which was signed into law on October 12, 2006. The Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area Act will raise the profile of New Jersey's historical importance.
For more information regarding the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area, please visit http://revolutionarynj.org/.
GREAT SWAMP NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
Congressman Frelinghuysen continues to devote attention to the Great Swamp Wildlife Refuge. Swamp woodland, hardwood ridges, cattail marshes, grasslands, ponds and meandering streams characterize this 7,600 acre National Wildlife Refuge. The protection of this gem of wilderness in the heart of dense suburban development is one of the success stories of our National Wilderness Preservation System. Every year, opportunities arise from willing sellers to purchase additional lands to add to the Refuge and preserve as open space. Congressman Frelinghuysen has worked tirelessly to ensure that there are funds available to make those purchases happen.