TRENTON – Legislation that will permit development of solar, photovoltaic and wind energy facilities on closed landfills or quarries has been signed into law.
S2126, sponsored by Sen. Jim Whelan, (D-2), Atlantic City, will allow the development of solar and photovoltaic energy facilities on any closed landfill or quarry in every municipality, including areas preserved under the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan.
“As we head into the winter months, residents of New Jersey once again feel the strain of high energy and oil costs associated with the cold weather, reminding us that it is long past time that we explore clean, renewable energy sources as viable alternatives,” Whelan said in a release.
“By opening up closed landfills for solar farms and wind energy facilities, we are positioning New Jersey as a national, if not global, leader in the expanding green economy,” he said.
Under the bill, the development of a renewable energy facility will be prohibited from harming existing engineering devices or environmental controls located on-site in the Pinelands unless they are reviewed and approved by the Pinelands Commission in consultation with the state Department of Environmental Protection.
“This law allows communities within the Pinelands preservation area, who have been struggling to attract new development and new tax ratables as a result of the Pinelands preservation law, to draw new economic activity to sites otherwise left dormant,” Whelan said.
Whelan noted that there are nearly 80 unused landfills within the Pinelands preservation area, and of those 80, there are only two which have been capped. The other 78 landfills are sitting as unusable, undevelopable land.