Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Annette Quijano, Wayne P. DeAngelo, Ruben J. Ramos, Jr., and Connie Wagner to permit the development of solar and photovoltaic energy facilities on closed landfills has been approved by both the General Assembly and the Senate.

The bill (S-2126/A-3139), approved by a vote of 72-3-3 in the Assembly, would permit development of solar or photovoltaic energy facilities or structures on any closed landfill.

"New Jersey has already taken strong steps to promote alternative energy and reduce reliance on fossil fuels," said Quijano (D-Union). "This would be another strong step. Closed landfills and quarries are eyesores and obstacles to better land use, but by using them for solar farms and alternative energy facilities, we can boost New Jersey as a leader in the clean energy industry while helping clean the environment."

"This is more than just cleaning the environment and promoting alternative energy," said DeAngelo (DMercer/ Middlesex). "This is a bill that will create jobs and drive economic activity in communities throughout the state."

"Allowing businesses to take advantage of unusable landfills and quarries to provide clean, alternative energy is a win for everybody," said Ramos (D-Hudson). "It will improve our environment and drive economic development at time when it's especially needed."

"Turning old landfills and quarries into sites that produce clean, sustainable energy is almost poetic," said Wagner (D-Bergen). "This is a concrete example of what we mean when we talk about sustainable, green initiatives."

The bill requires the Pinelands Commission to determine that the development of a facility or structure in that area would not impact any engineering devices or other environmental controls existing on the site and would not impact ecologically sensitive areas.

The bill would also allow the expansion of renewable solar energy reDests in areas that are not actively being used and would be minimally intrusive to conservation efforts.