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

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CHRISTIE POISED TO DIVERT ANOTHER $20 MILLION FROM OPEN-SPACE FUNDING

The Christie administration’s diversion of $20 million from an open-space fund to pay salaries at state parks was condemned yesterday at a legislative hearing in what is emerging as an acrimonious side battle over next year’s budget.

In a hearing before the Senate Environment and Energy Committee, open-space advocates argued such diversions were never contemplated by voters in the fall of 2014 when they easily approved a new constitutional amendment setting aside corporate business taxes to fund acquisition of undeveloped land and farmland preservation.

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‘STORMWATER UTILITIES’ CAN HELP CLEAN UP THE PROBLEM OF POLLUTED RUNOFF

It is a multibillion dollar problem and a major reason why most of New Jersey’s water fails to comply with federal clean water standards.

But with a price tag projected to run at least $8 billion, how to deal with stormwater runoff has largely defied solution in New Jersey. Rectifying the situation means fixing the combined sewer-overflow systems where runoff from storms mixes with untreated sewage to foul rivers, streams, and bays.

In a bid to deal with the longstanding problem, legislators are using a tactic already in place in approximately 1,500 jurisdictions around the country. They are moving on a bill (S-762) to allow dozens of urban areas to create stormwater utilities to help manage the runoff flowing into waterways.

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LCV cites NJ's best and worst in Congress on green issues

The New Jersey League of Conservation Voters today gave the highest score (100 percent) to four members of the state's congressional delegation for their 2015 voting records on environmental issues, while lambasting the lowest-scoring for being "complicit in extreme attacks on important environmental laws and more recent progress to protect our air, water, public lands, and wildlife.”

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N.J. delegation gets mixed reviews from League of Conservation Voters

The National League of Conservation Voters has released its annual congressional scorecard and the results for New Jersey are middling.

The environmental advocacy group rates senators and representatives based on their votes in their respective chambers on a slew of bills from 2015, ranging from clean energy to land conservation to pollution.

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Protesters say no to offshore drilling

ASBURY PARK - If the federal government approves oil and gas drilling offshore, a group of New Jersey elected officials, environmentalists and residents worry that beaches like Asbury Park's would be in jeopardy.

They envision a disaster like the one in Gulf Coast states after the Deepwater Horizon explosion of 2010, when millions of barrels of oil coated animals and slicked beaches for hundreds of miles. In the months afterward, crews cleaned oil and tar from beaches, ocean-dwelling animals died in unusual numbers, and  that region's fishing and tourism industry were temporarily crippled.

Asbury Park Mayor John Moor said he worries a similar disaster could happen at the Jersey Shore.

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OPEN-SPACE PRESERVATION FUNDING GETS PUT ON LEGISLATIVE FAST TRACK

Hoping to free up funds sooner rather than later, a legislative committee yesterday quickly revived a bill to provide money to preserve open space, farmland, and historic structures.

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Greens claim victory in Assembly elections

Environmentalists ran a victory lap Wednesday as green candidates scored decisive victories in some Assembly districts and others staged upsets.

The environment and energy are usually considered less-burning topics in public opinion polls, though that dynamic has changed slowly in New Jersey since Hurricane Sandy. Green groups and pro-environment legislators say the election Tuesday is providing evidence that issues relating to climate change are becoming more important in the minds of voters.

"What we saw was a record number seeking our endorsement, a record number getting our endorsement and a record number winning," Ed Potosnak, executive director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, said in an interview on Wednesday. "We had a record night last night."

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The link between childhood health and available parkland

Childhood health and obesity has increasingly become a problem. More than one-third of American children and adolescents are now either obese or overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Rather than playing outside and being active, kids now spend five to seven hours a day watching TV, on the computer or playing video games. In many areas of New Jersey there simply are not enough open spaces for kids to get outside for healthy recreation.

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Conservation group grateful to LoBiondo

At a time when too many representatives in Congress are sticking their heads in the sand about our environmental challenges, Rep. Frank LoBiondo is calling for action to protect South Jersey's environment and backing up his words with his votes.

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Jersey City aims to reduce carbon footprint with energy-analysis plan

Jersey City officials are aiming to make city buildings more energy-efficient by implementing energy audits every three years, the city announced yesterday.

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