Monday, March 1, 2010

Action today on NJ environmental legislation

A bill eliminating the state sales tax on purchases of vehicles with a fuel efficiency ratings of 40 miles-per-gallon or better was released today by the Senate Environment Committee.

The legislation, S-756, sponsored by committee members Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) and Robert Gordon (D-Bergen), covers vehicles with a sales price of $40,000 or less. The measure now goes to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for review.

Also released from committee was (SR-46), a resolution sponsored by Committee Chair Bob Smith D-Middlesex and committee member Kip Bateman (R-Somerset). It urges the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council to establish new artificial reefs in New Jersey coastal waters for commercial fishing. Recreational and commercial fishermen have been squabbling for years over who gets to use the existing artificial reefs and what equipment can be employed there. The bill is an attempt to create additional reefs to lessen the opportunities for conflict.

The committee postponed a vote on S-239 (Bateman) which requires all new school construction in New Jersey to follow green-building guidelines. The legislation has been slowed by a debate over whether the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED standards should be the state's sole guideline for environmental school design, or whether other standards, like Green Globes, should be accommodated.

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