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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

October 31, 2003

Contact: Amy Cradic (609) 984-1795
(BPU) 973-648-2134


State to Plant 1,500 Trees in City of Paterson:
DEP & BPU Launch Second Phase of Cool Cities: an Urban Forest Energy Efficiency Initiative

(03/162) TRENTON - Advancing Governor McGreevey's goal to plant 100,000 new trees across New Jersey, state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley Campbell and Board of Public Utilities (BPU) President Jeanne Fox today joined local students, the city of Paterson and the New Jersey Tree Foundation to plant the first 62 of 1,500 shade trees in Paterson, launching the second phase of a new, statewide urban forest energy efficiency initiative - Cool Cities.

"Out of New Jersey's 10 most populous cities, Paterson has the lowest percentage of shade tree cover depriving its residents of real environmental, aesthetic and cost saving benefits that are afforded by a healthy urban forest," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "By planting trees in urban areas like Paterson, we can absorb more air pollution, significantly cool elevated temperatures in cities, lower energy costs and improve urban communities' overall quality of life."

To reap the environmental, health and economic benefits of urban trees, DEP and BPU launched Cool Cities to green New Jersey's large cities through tree planting efforts that will help reduce the demand for electricity and lower energy consumption. Cool Cities is funded by BPU's Clean Energy Program. BPU has committed to $2 million in funding for the initial phase of Cool Cities, planting 3,000 trees in Paterson and Trenton this year. The planting of 1,500 trees in Trenton is underway.

"The Urban Forest Energy Efficiency Initiative is a smart investment in the quality of life for city residents," said Jeanne M. Fox, President of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. "That is why the BPU New Jersey Clean Energy Program is committing $2 million to plant 3,000 trees this year. Trees conserve energy and help to make our cities attractive places to live and work. They also reduce incoming solar radiation by approximately 90 percent and through the absorption of sunlight energy, evaporation, and a reduction in heat-trapping air pollutants - trees will help reduce the heat effect on city streets during the summer."

The New Jersey Tree Foundation, volunteers and students from Public School #21 and Public School #28 helped plant approximately 62 Pioneer Elm and Littleleaf Linden shade trees in the area of Presidential Blvd. and Temple Street. The remaining trees will be planted in throughout the 1st, 4th and 5th wards of the city.

"Governor McGreevey is fulfilling his promise to make our urban communities cleaner, more pleasant, and more affordable places to live," said city of Paterson Major Jose Torres. "The trees will benefit Paterson's environment and provide years of enjoyment and shade for our residents. As mayor, I'm urging residents to adopt a tree and nurture it for the future."

The remaining three of five targeted Cool Cities are being identified for tree planting and will be announced upon implementation.

Temperatures in urban settings are often five degrees above surrounding suburbs and rural areas, which is referred to as the 'urban heat island' effect, and trees can help lower these urban temperatures by as much as six to nineteen degrees. This increase in temperature is bad for many urban residents' health. Hotter weather increases the frequency of heat-related health problems, such as heat exhaustion, and induces more asthma attacks, as the heat concentrates air pollution and speeds up smog formation. In addition, higher temperatures result in more expensive utility bills as residents run their air conditioners longer.

In addition to providing shade from the sun, trees cool the air by excreting droplets of water that draw heat as they evaporate, which is 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 from the air. Trees also help filter and clean water supplies, reduce water runoff, flooding, erosion and storm water management costs. 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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