Highlands Funding

From the Daily Record:

Highlands funding takes dive this year

The roller coaster ride that is federal funding for Highlands preservation continued downhill Thursday as a U.S. Senate committee endorsed only $1 million to be split among four states this year.

Although the Highlands Conservation Act of 2004 provides for $10 million in funds for land preservation every year, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved only one-tenth of that amount for the coming year.

That runs counter to the Senate’s 2007 budget resolution, passed earlier this year, that endorsed fully funding the law. But it matches the House Appropriations Committee’s action last month, setting aside just $1 million for the Highlands.

Last year, the federal government spent no money on the Highlands.

There was more bad news for New Jersey: The Senate committee chose not to include $1 million to preserve another portion of the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Long Hill, which Rep. Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, R-Harding, had gotten the House Appropriations Committee to endorse.

State and local officials have been hoping for federal funds to help preserve thousands of acres of land in the Highlands, particularly in that half of the region where development has been curtailed severely, as state land preservation funding programs are running out of money.

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