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Call for flood-prone areas to be preserved

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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Environmentalists say flooding caused by Superstorm Sandy has highlighted the need to continue to buy open space.

They say some flood-prone properties should be bought from homeowners and preserved as wetlands.

New Jersey lawmakers are considering ways to replenish the state's open space preservation fund, which is broke.

Options include dedicating $200 million a year from sales taxes to open space, imposing a water-user fee or borrowing.

Proponents have long sought a permanent or pay-as-you-go funding source.

The Keep It Green coalition of environmental groups favors dedicating 2.5 percent of sales tax revenue.

The Sierra Club prefers a water-use surcharge. The group says the state can't afford more borrowing and the sales tax levy has been decreasing and could be needed to help pay for transportation projects.

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