New Jersey League of Conservation Voters is making the environment a top priority in Trenton.

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Worry Wards: How might environmental anxiety impact the midterm elections?

Earlier this fall, the world’s top climate scientists gave humanity about 10 years to avoid a future that really sucks. With the midterm elections right around the corner, that warning means voters are effectively deciding which candidates to trust with the keys to the climate. If voters are sufficiently worried about warming, that anxiety might help determine who is put in office.

According to Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, worry is a stronger predictor of policy support than other emotions. “We found that it’s not fear, it’s not anger, and it’s not disgust or guilt,” he explained. “Worry doesn’t hijack, doesn’t overwhelm, rationality. It can really spur it.”

So just how worried about the planet’s future are voters in the nation’s tightest congressional races? Grist created a map overlaying competitive elections, as identified by The Cook Political Report, with climate concern data from Yale’s 2018 Climate Opinion Maps.

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Senate passes ban on fracking waste in NJ

TRENTON _ The State Senate voted Monday 30-5 to pass a bill banning fracking waste in the state.

If it becomes law, New Jersey would become the second state in the nation to ban fracking waste and the first state in the Delaware River basin to do so.

There is an imminent need for such a law, environmentalists said. Another law passed this summer created a loophole for the Chemours/DuPont Chamber Works facility in Salem County to seek DEP approval to begin importing hazardous waste from other states.

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State to hold Transco pipeline hearing on Nov. 5 in Franklin

FRANKLIN (Somerset) - The state Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public hearing on the controversial 26.8-mile Northeast Supply Enhancement of the Transco pipeline and its proposed compressor station 6 p.m. on Nov. 5 at the Franklin High School Auditorium, 500 Elizabeth Ave., in the Somerset section.

The highly-protested extension of Tulsa-based Williams natural gas supplier’s pipeline would run through Old Bridge, Sayreville and the Raritan Bay. A 32,000-horsepower compression station is proposed at Trap Rock Quarry in Franklin.

The DEP has rejected plans for the project that Williams has had to resubmit. The Nov. 5 meeting will be about freshwater wetland and transition area impacts associated with the construction of an access road and connector pipes related to the compressor, as well as 3.59 miles of a proposed 26-inch-diameter pipeline in Sayreville and Old Bridge. Environmentalists and residents continue to express concerns about the plan.

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Plastic bags are piling up. This plan will force us to change our behavior

Every day, it seems like another company is announcing that it's taking up the fight on plastic pollution.

Just the other day, the world's largest seafood restaurant company, Red Lobster, announced it will phase out plastic straws. The restaurant chain joins a long list of institutions -- Starbucks, American Airlines, even the city of Seattle -- that are addressing our pervasive single-use plastic problem.

The reality is apparent: single-use plastics are an environmental nightmare, and it's time for New Jersey to lead America in eliminating single-use plastics.

New Jersey residents alone use 4.4 billion plastic bags annually, the effects of which are not hard to see. Plastic bags caught in trees, rolling down highways, doomed to persist in our waterways and green spaces for centuries.

Currently, in New Jersey, local municipalities are leading the way in curbing plastic pollution -- Longport, Ventnor, Hoboken, Jersey City, and several others have passed ordinances reducing plastic in some way, either through fees or outright bans.

Now, it's time for the state to act.

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Ban bags and straws? N.J. proposal would be the strictest in the nation

The governor wanted more, and that's exactly what lawmakers are trying to deliver.

After Gov. Phil Murphy vetoed a bill that would've created a five-cent sales tax on plastic and paper disposable bags and calling for stricter measures, lawmakers are back with a new proposal aimed at cutting back on plastic waste in the Garden State.

The proposal would ban stores from handing out single-use plastic shopping bags, plastic drinking straws and polystyrene food containers (like foam takeout clamshells) from being used in New Jersey. The bill would also create a 10-cent fee on single-use paper bags, which would finance a new "Plastic Pollution Prevention Fund."

The bill was advanced out of Senate environment committee on Thursday with a four-to-one vote.

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The proposed 10-cent fee on paper bags would send five cents back to the store operators. The remaining money would go to the newly created fund. The New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, a supporter of the bill, praised the paper bag fee.

"Paper bags are extremely resource-intensive and, in the U.S., we use over 10 billion per year. That results in thousands of acres of trees cut down, over 1,300 acres just from New Jersey's paper bag consumption," said Ed Potosnak, the executive director of the NJLCV. "This fee is essential to drive the behavioral change we need - and that's to use reusable bags."

To read the full article, click here.

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Energy Master Plan Committee holds hearing on clean transportation

A new poll sends a strong message to policy makers. Fully two thirds of voters surveyed for a new Fairleigh Dickinson University poll do not view natural gas as clean energy — that’s a 23 percent increase since 2016. It also shows three-quarters want New Jersey to achieve a goal of 100 percent of renewable energy by 2050. The state’s enlisting the public in crafting its new energy master plan at a hearing that drilled down on transportation technology. Andrew Schmertz has this report on Peril and Promise: The challenge of climate change.

By 2025, one in seven cars on New Jersey’s roads must be zero-emission electric vehicles. A government commission known as the Energy Master Plan Committee heard from a range of groups Thursday on how to meet that goal, which some say has been stalled since the 2004 Clean Car Program passed.

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Community Members Participate in 'Climate, Jobs and Justice Rally' at Morristown Town Hall

Ed Potosnak speaks at the People's Climate March.

Morristown, NJ - Community members gathered today at Morristown Town Hall  for the Rise for Climate, Jobs and Justice Event. Same day events were happening in Red Bank, Newark and Jersey City where citizens, elected officials and members of environmental, labor, civil and faith-based groups gathered for the People’s Climate Movement to Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice.  

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Gov. vetoes bag fee bill, opening way for ban on single-use plastics

Gov. Phil Murphy vetoed a bill Monday that would have imposed a 5-cent fee on all single-use bags supplied by merchants, opening the way for an outright ban on single-use plastic bags statewide.

Many environmental groups celebrated, saying the fee bill was just a money grab by the state — 4 cents of every fee would have gone to state coffers — and would not cut down enough on plastic bag pollution.

But others, including New Jersey Audubon, the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters and the N.J. Association of Environmental Commissions, saw the veto as a lost opportunity. They don’t know if there are enough votes in the Legislature to pass a ban bill.

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Murphy vetoes plastic bag tax, tells lawmakers to try again

Try again.

That's the message that Gov. Phil Murphy is sending to state lawmakers after vetoing a proposed fee on plastic and paper single-use shopping bags in New Jersey.

Murphy announced Monday morning he vetoed bill, which would have placed a five-cent fee on single-use plastic and paper bags handed out by retailers statewide.

The money collected by the fee would have been placed in a new fund administered by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to help pay for lead abatement projects.

In his statement on the veto, Murphy made it clear that he didn't think the bill went far enough. He called the issue a "critical policy area" and detailed the environmental threats posed by plastic waste, from clogging urban water infrastructure to littering New Jersey's parks and beaches.

"While well intentioned, the approach reflected in this bill strikes me as incomplete and insufficient," Murphy wrote. "Instituting a five-cent fee on single-use bags that only applies to certain retailers does not go far enough to address the problems created by overreliance on plastic bags and other single-use carryout bags."

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Phil Murphy to veto bill imposing 5-cent fee on plastic grocery bags. Is a ban next?

TOMS RIVER — Gov. Phil Murphy will veto a much-criticized bill that would place a 5-cent fee on plastic grocery store bags, his office confirmed Thursday afternoon, leading some environmentalists and lawmakers to believe he will push for an outright ban. 

Murphy called the bill's sponsors this week and told them he would veto the bill, which was rushed through the Legislature in June amid frenzied negotiations over a roughly $37 billion state budget.

More than a dozen municipalities, including Jersey City, Hoboken and Monmouth Beach, have passed local bans this year that will soon go into effect despite heavy lobbying efforts against a statewide ban.

Murphy's office confirmed that he will sign a veto and explain his position on Friday or Monday — the deadline to take action. 

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