Menendez Announces Sustainable States Act

Menendez Announces Sustainable States Act

Legislation is based on the nationally-recognized Sustainable Jersey program

Cherry Hill - U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) was at the Camden County Parks Building today to announce he will soon introduce his Sustainable States Act of 2011, which builds on the success of Sustainable Jersey's award-winning municipal sustainability certification program. Fred Profeta, founder of Sustainable Jersey, Cherry Hill Mayor Bernie Platt, and Lori Braunstein, Director of Sustainable Cherry Hill, were also in attendance.

"Sustainability is the foundation for enduring economic prosperity. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to make sustainability a national aspiration," said Senator Menendez. "The beauty of Sustainable Jersey is that it fosters the local government leadership that is critical to producing cost effective, environmentally sound solutions to municipal challenges, including energy consumption, water management, and waste management. The Sustainable States Act of 2011 will build on Sustainable Jersey's success and extend New Jersey's leadership in municipal sustainability across the nation."

"The Sustainable Jersey program has gone viral in this state because it marries the enthusiasm and savvy of local officials with the intellectual rigor of academics," said Fred Profeta, Deputy Mayor for the Environment in Maplewood, NJ and founder of Sustainable Jersey. "It will do as well in the rest of the country."

"Cherry Hill crafted one of the most aggressive green action plans in the nation and has been at the forefront of sustainable efforts statewide," Cherry Hill Mayor Bernie Platt said. "This Township was one of the initial members of Sustainable Jersey and has worked hard to implement initiatives that conserve energy and save taxpayers money. The creation of a federal program in the image of Sustainable Jersey would be a home run for our country's environment and our economy."

"Sustainable Jersey gets local governments and community stakeholders to work together to achieve certification," said Lori Braunstein, Executive Director of Sustainable Cherry Hill. "Realizing the collective vision of a sustainable future requires such collaboration and communication, and this strategy has worked beautifully here in Cherry Hill."

Conceived in 2006, Sustainable Jersey is the product of the collaborative efforts of a range of New Jersey institutions including the New Jersey League of Municipalities, New Jersey Sustainable State Institute at Rutgers University and the Municipal Land Use Center at The College of New Jersey. The program was launched in February 2009 with the establishment of thirteen task forces able to identify specific aspects of local greening and sustainable development at the municipal level, the basis for awarding certification.

The Sustainable States Act of 2011 would make available EPA grants of up to $600K over three years for consortia to build municipal sustainability certification programs modeled after Sustainable Jersey but tailored to regional needs. The legislation would also instruct the EPA to recognize "top performers" among municipalities that are certified as sustainable by their state program and make project grants of up to $100K over three years available to them.

Sustainable Cherry Hill is an all volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit community outreach and educational organization with the mission of "Bringing people together to build a sustainable South Jersey." Their collaborative relationship with Cherry Hill resulted in the township becoming a Sustainable Jersey 'Bronze' Certified Community in November 2009. The site for today's event, the Camden County Parks Building in Cherry Hill, recently underwent the addition of an environmental center which is a model of Green Design and is LEED certified.

For more information on Sustainable Jersey go to: http://www.sustainablejersey.com/

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