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

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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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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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FORMER EPA OFFICIAL TO LEAD HIGHLANDS COUNCIL

Lisa Plevin, a former chief of staff at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region II office, will become the new executive director of the Highlands Council.

The council voted unanimously to appoint Plevin, who’s expected to take up the post in August. She replaces Margaret Nordstrom, who held the job since 2014.

The appointment of Plevin, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), is the latest move by Gov. Phil Murphy to reshape the council, which oversees the Highlands region, a sprawling area of more than 800,000 acres of woodland, lakes and hills that provides drinking water to 6 million people.

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IS NJ READY FOR WATER-USE FEE TO FUND BILLIONS IN UPGRADES OF AGING INFRASTRUCTURE?

State Sen. Bob Smith has long argued for a toll to help fund renewal of New Jersey’s century-old water system. He thinks the time just might be right to get it done

It has never won support in the past, but a state senator is reviving a decades-old bill that would impose a fee on water use to fund the rebuilding of New Jersey’s aging water infrastructure.

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New Jersey environmentalists say plastic bag fee not enough

On Monday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy removed any mention of a 5-cent fee associated with single-use bags from the state budget via a line-item veto, reports NJ.com. 

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Is 5-cent fee for plastic bags headed for the trash? N.J. environmentalists hope so

Nothing is in the bag when it comes to a proposed 5-cent fee for single-use bags.

The measure is in limbo after Gov. Phil Murphy used a line-item veto to remove any language related to the proposed bag fees from the state budget on Monday. It is unclear how Murphy views the proposed fees, but environmental groups want him to ditch the bill in favor of stricter regulations.  

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LAW THAT WOULD PUT 5-CENT FEE ON PLASTIC, PAPER BAGS UP IN AIR AS GOVERNOR DECIDES

It was only a single line-item veto in a $37.4 billion state budget, but it has fueled speculation over the fate of a controversial bill to impose a nickel fee on single use carry-out bags.

Gov. Phil Murphy blocked the diversion of funds targeted for lead abatement projects in the budget, a move welcomed by environmental and other advocates who want to see more resources dedicated to eliminating childhood exposure to lead.

In approving a state spending plan for the new fiscal year, the governor eliminated language that would have shifted at least $23 million raised by fees on plastic and paper bags to the general budget instead of lead programs as originally intended.

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Is Phil Murphy moving to ban plastic bags in New Jersey?

Gov. Phil Murphy deleted language from the state's $37.4 billion budget Sunday that would have raised millions from a proposed 5-cent fee on plastic supermarket bags, signaling that he may support more stringent restrictions, including a ban. 

Murphy has about 30 days left to decide the fate of the 5-cent fee bill, passed hurriedly by the Legislature last month as lawmakers were scrambling to find new revenue sources. Dan Bryan, a spokesman for Murphy, said Monday that no final decision has been made regarding the bill.

But environmentalists and some state lawmakers are urging Murphy, a Democrat, to support a temporary fee for a few years followed by an outright ban by vetoing the bill or rewriting it as part of a conditional veto. They want a bag law based on California's measure that bans plastic bags and charges a 10-cent fee on paper bags. 

"The changes that need to be made to this bill are really critical; otherwise we're not doing much to solve the problem," said Ed Potosnak, executive director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. "Nobody likes to change their habits, but this is a direction we need to go in. Just look at how much plastic is on your beaches and in your parks."

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Tested solution addresses flooding, polluted runoff: Potosnak/Sturm

The issuance last week of 47 advisories of high levels of fecal bacteria along New Jersey's beaches highlights an important issue facing our state: We need a permanent way to address our polluted runoff problem.

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