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."
Supporters of the five-cent fee had hoped the Governor would return the bill with a conditional veto, a move that would've attempted to fix weaknesses in the bill rather than killing it outright. They would've like to have had the fee system as a stepping stone to a full bag ban in the future.
"Gov. Murphy had the chance to reduce New Jersey's plastic pollution by closing loopholes and allowing the legislature to pass a stronger bill," said Ed Potosnak, the executive director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. "Without any kind of law to reduce single-use bags, our state will continue to be overrun by dangerous pollution that threatens the health of New Jersey families and businesses."
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