West Milford among eight towns to achieve Sustainable Jersey certification

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:07

    Trenton — West Milford is one of eight towns throughout the state that have achieved the Sustainable Jersey certification. That brings the total number of municipalities that have been certified since the program was launched in 2009 to 82. The certified communities are leading the way as many more New Jersey towns are actively working on becoming certified. Sustainable Jersey's 350 participating communities represent over half of the state's municipalities and nearly 75 percent of its population. Mayor Bettina Bieri was pleased West Milford achieved the certification. “I have always been supportive of our Green Team and their sustainable initiatives, so I am very proud of their accomplishments,” said Bieri. “The volunteers should be commended for their proactive approach in furthering the goals of a sustainable community. West Milford is a community that boasts an abundance of natural resources, including diverse wildlife, and a citizenry that predominantly encourages its protection and preservation. Achieving Sustainable Jersey certification emulates those basic philosophies.” In addition to West Milford, the following communities were also certified by Sustainable Jersey: Mullica Township (Atlantic County), Ocean Township (Monmouth County), Old Tappan Borough (Bergen County), Park Ridge Borough (Bergen County), Princeton Borough (Mercer County), Princeton Township (Mercer County) and Wyckoff Township (Bergen County). The program is voluntary, but achieving certification is not easy. Each Sustainable Jersey municipality that is certified at the bronze level must submit documentation to show it has completed a balance of the program sustainability actions, meeting a minimum of 150 points. Typically a town will select 10-12 actions from a potential list of over 117 actions that include areas such as a commitment to environmental stewardship, community gardens, supporting local businesses, conservation of energy and water and waste reduction and recycling. In addition to reaching the required points, each community has to create a Green Team and select at least two of the seven priority actions that include energy audits for municipal buildings, a municipal carbon footprint, a sustainable land use pledge, a natural resource inventory, a water conservation ordinance, a fleet inventory, and/or Energy Star Portfolio Manager. “It’s quite an accomplishment to become Sustainable Jersey certified,” said Pam Mount, interim chair of the Sustainable Jersey Board of Trustees. “The certified towns have joined a first rate group of municipalities that are leading the way with impressive sustainability initiatives in New Jersey while providing a model for towns across the United States.” The award winning towns will be recognized at the third annual Sustainable Jersey awards luncheon on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at the New Jersey League of Municipalities’ conference in Atlantic City. In addition to the award presentations at the luncheon, key note speakers will include James Florio, the former New Jersey governor and trustee of the Sustainable Jersey Board of Trustees and project partners Joseph Fiordaliso, commissioner of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and Michele Siekerka, assistant commissioner, Economic Growth and Green Energy, at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. About Sustainable Jersey Sustainable Jersey is a certification program for municipalities in New Jersey. Launched in 2009, Sustainable Jersey is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that supports community efforts to reduce waste, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and improve environmental equity. It provides tools, training and financial incentives to support and reward communities as they pursue sustainability programs. New Jersey is the first state in the nation to have a comprehensive sustainability program for communities that links certification with strong state and private financial incentives, and a fully resourced program of technical support and training. Sustainable Jersey is 100 percent voluntary and each town can choose whether it wants to get certified and the actions it wants to do in order to achieve enough points to get certified. Currently, 62 percent of New Jersey’s towns and cities (350 towns across all 21 counties) have registered to become Sustainable Jersey certified. The program has distributed over half a million dollars to New Jersey communities to support an estimated 1,500 actions taken “on the ground” to make communities more livable, environmentally friendly and prosperous.