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

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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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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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Protecting the Water of 5 Million New Jerseyans: Lisa Plevin to Lead Highlands Council

New Jersey League of Conservation Voters would like to congratulate Lisa J. Plevin to her appointment as Executive Director for the New Jersey Highlands Council. Lisa takes over the role after Margaret Nordstrom, who is stepping down after joining the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council staff six years ago. The Highlands Council is a 15-member appointed body tasked with implementation of the New Jersey Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act of 2004. The Highlands Council is advised in its actions by its Executive Director, who serves as the chief administrative officer of the Council.

The Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act was passed to protect the Highlands from piecemeal development patterns that were consuming 5-square-miles of Highlands forests and wetlands each year. The Highlands Council’s primary goal is to uphold this Act and protect the Highlands, a physiographic region of New Jersey that includes 88 municipalities within 7 counties and provides drinking water for over 5 million residents of New Jersey. As I’ve seen under past state administrations, it’s hard not to lose sight of protecting water sources while wading through the polluted waters of partisan fighting - but I know Lisa can do it.

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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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Murphy to veto fee on plastic bags

Gov. Phil Murphy plans to veto a controversial bill that would have placed a 5-cent fee on plastic bags, according to a senior administration official.

Murphy plans to veto the bill in the coming days, per the source. The governor must act on the legislation by Monday, as both houses of the Legislature have said they intend to hold quorum calls that afternoon, triggering the deadline for a veto.

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5 things Murphy could do with plastic bag bill to truly reduce pollution | Opinion

Earlier this summer, a harrowing story blanketed the nightly news. In Thailand, a whale washed up on shore, which isn't uncommon or noteworthy, but something insidious ended its life. The whale died from poisoning -- death by plastic.

There were a staggering 80 plastic bags and nearly 18 pounds of plastic debris found in the pilot whale body.

This isn't a singular event, but a telling symbol of the massive impact of plastics impose on the health of our environment.

It is estimated that over 100,000 marine mammals and turtles, over 1 million sea-birds and countless fish die every year from ingesting plastics, and more than 800 types of wildlife have been documented to be harmed by this pollution. Astoundingly, it is estimated that there are 500 times more microplastics in our ocean than the 100 billion stars in our galaxy.

The statistics on the pervasive nature of plastic pollution can go on.

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Plastic bags will soon be joining the dodo bird -- history

When you bring stuff home, what do you do with all the plastic bags it was packed in?

Do you cram them in the trash (probably into a bigger plastic bag) or do you stash them away for next time you need to carry something? Maybe keep them near the door to grab when you walk the dog and need to clean up after him. Or maybe you are one of those environmentally-conscious folks who saves them for the recycling box in the supermarket lobby.

No matter, really, because lawyers who draft bills and ordinances for government consider them all to be "single-use plastic bags."

Manufacturers disagree, of course, arguing they are 100 percent reusable and recyclable and claiming nine out of ten Americans reuse plastic bags at least once for everything from storage to waste disposal to packing materials.

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State attorney general sues SJ Gas, Deull Fuel, over Atlantic City pollution

ATLANTIC CITY — The state is suing South Jersey Gas, the Deull Fuel Co. and other firms over contamination of a block of land near the bay where S.J. Gas has been cleaning up a former manufactured gas plant site for almost two years.

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