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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Bradley M. Campbell, Commissioner
  New Jersey Board of Public Utilities
Jeanne M. Fox, President
City of Newark
Mayor Sharpe James

May 25, 2004


Contact: Elaine Makatura (DEP) 609-292-2994
Gloria Montealegre (BPU) 973-648-2134
David Lippman (City of Newark) 973-733-3697


State Plants 500 Trees in City of Newark
DEP & BPU Continue to Green New Jersey through Cool Cities:
An Urban Forest Energy Efficiency Initiative

(04/55) NEWARK - Advancing Governor James E. McGreevey's initiative to create cleaner, greener cities throughout New Jersey, Board of Public Utilities (BPU) President Jeanne M. Fox and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Assistant Commissioner John S. Watson, Jr. today joined Newark Mayor Sharpe James, local students and the New Jersey Tree Foundation to plant the first of 500 shade trees in Newark.

The tree planting is part of Cool Cities, a statewide urban forest energy-efficiency initiative that is the centerpiece of Governor McGreevey's goal to plant 100,000 new trees across the state.

"Newark is New Jersey's most populated city with only 13 percent tree cover," said DEP Assistant Commissioner Watson. "Planting trees in urban areas such as Newark reduces air pollution, lowers energy costs by cooling elevated temperatures and improves the overall quality of life in urban communities."

The DEP and the BPU launched Cool Cities last fall to green New Jersey's large cities by planting trees to reduce the demand for electricity and lower energy consumption. The BPU's Clean Energy Program has committed $5 million in funding for the Cool Cities initiative, planting 3,000 shade trees in Paterson and Trenton last fall and the 500 trees in Newark today.

"Making New Jersey's cities greener and improving the quality of life is the goal of Governor McGreevey's Cool Cities initiative. Under the Governor's leadership, the BPU has invested $5 million and along with the DEP, is helping to plant 100,000 trees across the state," said Jeanne M. Fox, President of the BPU. "There is an important correlation between trees, energy and air quality - trees reduce the heat effect in cities, as well as in our homes and buildings, which translates into saving energy and lower energy costs. In addition, trees bring improved air quality and aesthetic beauty to city dwellers."

The New Jersey Tree Foundation, volunteers and students from the 13th Avenue School helped plant approximately 27 Willow Oaks and Chanticleer Callery Pear shade trees in the area of the school between 8th and 9th Streets. The remaining trees will be planted throughout the West, Central and South wards of the city.

"We commend the Board of Public Utilities, the Department of Environmental Protection, and our Department of Engineering for teaming up to bring 500 trees to the streets of Newark," said city of Newark Major Sharpe James. "The James administration has a long-standing commitment to the environment and we have done so through innovative partnerships and successful programs that have won Newark numerous awards. But the true success is measured when our residents can enjoy the clean air and shade that trees like these being planted today will provide."

This summer, the DEP and the New Jersey Tree Foundation will begin collecting data to measure the energy benefits derived from the 3,000 trees planted in Trenton and Paterson last fall. The data will enable them to predict future energy savings as the trees continue to grow and shade the city.

This fall, the Cool Cities initiative will bring trees to the cities of Elizabeth, Orange, Passaic and Union, as well as additional trees to Paterson and Trenton.

Temperatures in urban settings are often five degrees above surrounding suburbs and rural areas, which is referred to as the "urban heat island" effect. This temperature increase can cause health problems for many urban residents. Hotter weather increases the incidence of heat exhaustion and induces more asthma attacks. Further, higher temperatures result in more expensive utility bills as residents run their air conditioners longer. Trees can help lower these urban temperatures by as much as six to 19 degrees.

In addition to providing shade from the sun, trees provide oxygen and cool the air by emitting droplets of water that draw heat as they evaporate, a process called "evapotranspiration." Trees also absorb sound, prevent erosion and provide habitats for birds and animals. Their leaves help improve air quality by absorbing noxious gases and trapping particulate matter. Trees also help filter and clean water supplies, and reduce water runoff and flooding. Trees make towns more attractive to business and tourism, transforming a neighborhood's appearance and increasing home market value, as they bring nature closer to where we live and work.




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