SENATE, No. 2968

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

220th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED AUGUST 8, 2022

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  JEAN STANFIELD

District 8 (Atlantic, Burlington and Camden)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires grants to local government units to cover total cost of forest stewardship plans; provides for allocation of funding from “Global Warming Solutions Fund”.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning funding for forest stewardship, and amending P.L.2009, c.256 and P.L.2007, c.340.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    Section 5 of P.L.2009, c.256 (C.13:1L-33) is amended to read as follows:

     5.    a. There is established in the General Fund a special nonlapsing fund, to be known as the "Forest Stewardship Incentive Fund."  Moneys in the fund shall be dedicated to:

     (1)   providing grants to persons for the purpose of developing and implementing a forest stewardship plan pursuant to section 3 of P.L.2009, c.256 (C.13:1L-31);

     (2)   paying the costs of the department to develop, implement, and administer the provisions of P.L.2009, c.256 (C.13:1L-29 et al.); and

     (3)   providing for the stewardship and management of State forests.

     b.    The fund shall be credited with:

     (1)   the amount allocated for programs that enhance the stewardship and restoration of the State's forests pursuant to section 7 of P.L.2007, c.340 (C.26:2C-51) from the "Global Warming Solutions Fund," established pursuant to section 6 of P.L.2007, c.340 (C.26:2C-50);

     (2)   any other moneys as may be appropriated to the fund by the Legislature or otherwise provided to the fund; and

     (3)   any return on the investment of moneys deposited in the fund.

     c.     In each State fiscal year, the amount credited to the Forest Stewardship Incentive Fund shall be appropriated to the fund for the purposes set forth in this section.

     d.    The department may award individual grants of up to $1,500 from the fund to pay for the cost of developing a forest stewardship plan pursuant to section 3 of P.L.2009, c.256 (C.13:1L-31) , except that the department shall award grants to local government units for the total cost of developing and implementing a forest stewardship plan for forest land owned by the local government unit.  If the cost of developing a forest stewardship plan exceeds $1,500, the department may also award 80 percent of the cost that exceeds $1,500 to the owner other than a local government unit, up to a maximum grant of $2,500.  Grants from the fund may be made to local government units, nonprofit organizations, and private owners of forest land.  Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection to the contrary, the amount of the grants prescribed by this subsection may be adjusted annually by the department in direct proportion to the increase in the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers in the New York City area as reported by the United States Department of Labor.

     e.     The department may award individual grants through a cost-sharing program established pursuant to subsection c. of section 8 of P.L.2009, c.256 (C.13:1L-36) to private owners who have obtained a forest stewardship plan approved by the department pursuant to section 3 of P.L.2009, c.256 (C.13:1L-31).  The department shall expend no more than $150,000 in any State fiscal year for grants awarded through the cost-sharing program.

(cf:  P.L.2009, c.256, s.5)

 

     2.    Section 7 of P.L.2007, c.340 (C.26:2C-51) is amended to read as follows:

     7.    a.  The agencies administering programs established pursuant to this section shall maximize coordination in the administration of the programs to avoid overlap between the uses of the fund prescribed in this section.

     b.    Moneys in the fund, after appropriation annually for payment of administrative costs authorized pursuant to subsection c. of this section, shall be annually appropriated and used for the following purposes:

     (1)   Sixty percent shall be allocated to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to provide grants and other forms of financial assistance to commercial, institutional, and industrial entities to support end-use energy efficiency projects and new, efficient electric generation facilities that are state of the art, as determined by the department, including but not limited to energy efficiency and renewable energy applications, to develop combined heat and power production and other high efficiency electric generation facilities, to stimulate or reward investment in the development of innovative carbon emissions abatement technologies with significant carbon emissions reduction or avoidance potential, to develop qualified offshore wind projects pursuant to section 3 of P.L.2010, c.57 (C.48:3-87.1), and to provide financial assistance to manufacturers of equipment associated with qualified offshore wind projects.  The authority, in consultation with the board and the department, shall determine:  (a) the appropriate level of grants or other forms of financial assistance to be awarded to individual commercial, institutional, and industrial sectors and to individual projects within each of these sectors; (b) the evaluation criteria for selecting projects to be awarded grants or other forms of financial assistance, which criteria shall include the ability of the project to result in a measurable reduction of the emission of greenhouse gases or a measurable reduction in energy demand, provided, however, that neither the development of a new combined heat and power production facility, nor an increase in the electrical and thermal output of an existing combined heat and power production facility, shall be subject to the requirement to demonstrate such a measurable reduction; and (c) the process by which grants or other forms of financial assistance can be applied for and awarded including, if applicable, the payment terms and conditions for authority investments in certain projects with commercial viability;

     (2)   Twenty percent shall be allocated to the board to support programs that are designed to reduce electricity demand or costs to electricity customers in the low-income and moderate-income residential sector with a focus on urban areas, including efforts to address heat island effect and reduce impacts on ratepayers attributable to the implementation of P.L.2007, c.340 (C.26:2C-45 et al.) or to support the light duty plug-in electric vehicle incentive program and the incentive program for in-home electric vehicle service equipment established pursuant to sections 4 and 6 of P.L.2019, c.362 (C.48:25-4 and C.48:25-6).  For the purposes of this paragraph, the board, in consultation with the authority and the department, shall determine the types of programs to be supported and the mechanism by which to quantify benefits to ensure that the supported programs result in a measurable reduction in energy demand or accomplishment of the plug-in electric vehicle goals established pursuant to section 3 of P.L.2019, c.362 (C.48:25-3);

     (3)   Ten percent shall be allocated to the department to support programs designed to promote local government efforts to plan, develop and implement measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including but not limited to technical assistance to local governments, and the awarding of grants and other forms of assistance to local governments to conduct and implement energy efficiency, renewable energy, and distributed energy programs and land use planning where the grant or assistance results in a measurable reduction of the emission of greenhouse gases or a measurable reduction in energy demand. For the purpose of conducting any program pursuant to this paragraph, the department, in consultation with the authority and the board, shall determine:  (a) the appropriate level of grants or other forms of financial assistance to be awarded to local governments; (b) the evaluation criteria for selecting projects to be awarded grants or other forms of financial assistance; (c) the process by which grants or other forms of financial assistance can be applied for and awarded; and (d) a mechanism by which to quantify benefits; and

     (4)   Ten percent shall be allocated to the department to support programs that enhance the stewardship and restoration of the State's forests and tidal marshes that provide important opportunities to sequester or reduce greenhouse gases of which at least 10 percent shall be allocated for grants for the development and implementation of forest stewardship plans pursuant to section 5 of P.L.2009, c.256 (C.13:1L-33).

     c.     (1)  The department may use up to four percent of the total amount in the fund each year to pay for administrative costs justifiable and approved in the annual budget process, incurred by the department in administering the provisions of P.L.2007, c.340 (C.26:2C-45 et al.) and in administering programs to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases including any obligations that may arise under subsection a. of section 11 of P.L.2007, c.340 (C.26:2C-55).

     (2)   The board may use up to two percent of the total amount in the fund each year to pay for administrative costs justifiable and approved in the annual budget process, incurred by the board in administering the provisions of P.L.2007, c.340 (C.26:2C-45 et al.) and in administering programs to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases including any obligations that may arise under subsection a. of section 11 of P.L.2007, c.340 (C.26:2C-55).

     (3)   The New Jersey Economic Development Authority may use up to two percent of the total amount in the fund each year to pay for administrative costs justifiable and approved in the annual budget process, incurred by the authority in administering the provisions of P.L.2007, c.340 (C.26:2C-45 et al.) and in administering programs to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases.

     d.    The State Comptroller shall conduct or supervise independent audit and fiscal oversight functions of the fund and its uses.

(cf:  P.L.2019, c.362, s.12)

 

     3.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would require that a grant awarded by the Department of Environmental Protection for a forest stewardship plan to a local government unit be for the total cost of the development and implementation of the plan.  Current law authorizes the department to award grants of up to $1,500 from the "Forest Stewardship Incentive Fund" (fund) to pay for the cost of developing a forest stewardship plan pursuant to section 3 of P.L.2009, c.256 (C.13:1L-31) to owners of forested land, including local government units.  Current law also provides that, if the cost of developing a forest stewardship plan exceeds $1,500, the department may also award 80 percent of the cost that exceeds $1,500 to the owner, up to a maximum grant of $2,500.  The fund is credited with moneys allocated for programs that enhance the stewardship and restoration of the State's forests pursuant to section 7 of P.L.2007, c.340 (C.26:2C-51) from the "Global Warming Solutions Fund."  This bill would require a grant to a local government unit to cover the total cost of development and implementation of a forest stewardship plan for its forested land.  Finally, the bill would require that of the moneys allocated for forest stewardship from the “Global Warming Solutions Fund,” at least 10 percent of that allocation would be required to be allocated for grants for the development and implementation of forest stewardship plans.