House Approves Funding for Highlands Conservation Act

House Approves Funding for Highlands Conservation Act

Washington, DC – Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11) praised the House of Representatives for including his request for funding for the Highlands Conservation Act as part of the Fiscal Year 2016Omnibus Appropriations Bill.

Frelinghuysen, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, stated that $10 million for land acquisition, from willing sellers, in the Highlands region is included in the bill that was passed by the House today.  To date, this is the highest number appropriated in any single year.

“Preserving the New Jersey Highlands should always be a 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.  This appropriation shows just how well the Highlands Conservation Act has been working. The Act requires that every federal dollar be matched 100 percent by non-federal dollars.  Over $17 million that has been previously appropriated has leveraged state, local, and private funds at a better than two-to-one ratio protecting more than 5,000 acres in the 4-state Highlands Region,” said Frelinghuysen.

The Highlands Conservation Act, which Frelinghuysen sponsored, was signed into law in 2004. This legislation directs critical funding to the Highlands region of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.  It is one of the last open space treasures in the most densely populated area of the United States.  Overall, the region provides and protects drinking water supplies for 3.5 million New Jerseyans.  Stressing local responsibility and public/private partnerships, the Highlands Conservation Act requires state and local governments from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut to identify “willing sellers” and prioritize land acquisition projects.