Rep. Frelinghuysen announces $3.5 million appropriation for land acquisition in Highlands Region

Washington, D.C. -  Congressman Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (NJ-11), a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, announced that his request for $3.5 million for land acquisition in the Highlands region is included in the FY 2015 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.  The bill was passed by the Appropriations Committee today and has been referred to the full House for further action.

“I am delighted that the House Appropriations Committee has strongly supported my request for $3.5 million for additional land acquisition through the Highlands Conservation Act program,” Frelinghuysen said.  “Preserving and protecting this vitally important natural region has been a top priority of mine for many years.  Ensuring the environmental health of this region is essential to safeguarding the quality of life for the more than 15 million people who get their drinking water from sources in the Highlands watershed.”

“This appropriation, in a time of budgetary restraint, 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.  The $14.25 million that has been previously appropriated under the Act has leveraged state, local, and private funds at a better than two-to-one ratio,” Frelinghuysen continued.  “This represents public-private environmental partnerships at their best.  By leveraging non-federal dollars, the federal government can support the acquisition of environmentally sensitive land, owned by willing sellers, to advance the public good.”

Anthony Cucchi, the New Jersey State Director for The Trust for Public Land expressed his appreciation for Congressman Frelinghuysen’s effort to secure this funding: “Thanks to Congressman Frelinghuysen's support and work over the past several months on the FY 2015 Interior Appropriations bill, critical funding is now included for important projects in the Highlands of New Jersey, as well as in Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania.  We appreciate the Congressman's continued support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and his commitment to protect the region's important recreational lands, forests, wildlife, and water quality for all to enjoy.”

The Highlands cover more than three million acres across New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.  To date, more than 5,000 acres in the 4-state Highlands Region have been protected under the Act.  

The Highlands Region supplies drinking water for more than 15 million people, provides habitat for more hundreds of plant and animal species, and provides recreational opportunities for the millions of people who live within the region.