Murphy Pocket Vetoes Enviro Bills, Signs Bad Fishery Bills
Today, Governor Murphy pocket vetoed a few good and bad environmental bills, and signed two bills that will negatively impact fisheries.
“Today, the Governor pocket vetoed four environmental bills. We are glad that some were vetoed, like the beaver trapping bill. By vetoing this bill. Governor Murphy has stopped a bill that mismanages a critical species. We are concerned that others were vetoed, like the electric vehicle charging infrastructure bill. The Governor also signed some bills that he should not have signed. These bills will negatively impact fisheries and our coastal ecosystems,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.
Pocket Vetoed Bills
S3407 (Sweeney/Oroho) / A2731 (Taliaferro/Space): removes statutory limitations on the number of permits that may be issued by the Division of Fish and Wildlife for the taking of beaver.
“Governor Murphy pocket vetoed a bill that would have allowed for unlimited beaver trapping. This is good news for such an important species of our ecosystem. Beavers help create wetlands and ponds, allowing for water filtration and creating habitat for other species. Many of New Jersey’s wetlands have been created and maintained by beavers. Bird, reptile, and plant species rely on habitats that are modified by beavers,” said Jeff Tittel. “We thank Governor Murphy for stopping a bill that would have mismanaged this critical species.”
Beavers are known as a Keystone species because they create habitats that are among the most biologically productive ecosystems in the world. Their dams improve water quality by slowing water flow and allowing for sediment and water filtration. Some states are actually relocating beavers to arid areas because they help stabilize the water table and recharge drinking water aquifers.
“This bill would have done nothing to mitigate problems caused by beavers, which is why it is so important that Governor Murphy stopped it. Instead of trapping more beavers, we should be focusing on a comprehensive beaver management plan. There are nonlethal methods of dealing with beavers, like catch and release traps or beaver deterrents. Our lands need to be managed in a way that respects the environment and nature,” said Jeff Tittel.
S2421 (Smith/Bateman): concerns installation of electric vehicle charging stations in common interest communities.
“Now that we’re moving forward on electric vehicles, we could really use this legislation. This legislation would have made it easier for people to access EV infrastructure, and would encourage more EV use in our state. Over 45% of our greenhouse gases in New Jersey come from automobiles, but these emissions can easily be cut by implementing EV technology. This bill addressed range anxiety, which is one of the biggest stumbling blocks for electric vehicles. Electric vehicles are the technology of the future, and this bill would have helped to create a charging network that allows people to drive through New Jersey without worrying about finding a place to charge their vehicle,” said Tittel. “Last week, the Governor signed a strong EV infrastructure bill but this week he let this bill die. We need to make sure we’re ready for electric vehicles as we are moving forward.”
S2958 (Sarlo/Oroho): established the “Energy Infrastructure Public-Private Partnership Act.”
“Governor Murphy allowed this bill to die because it was very complex and, to some extent, confusing. It didn’t specify renewable energy or address climate impacts, so it could have been used for fossil fuels and natural gas projects. It also didn’t have any limits on the amount of energy that was built or produced. There were also concerns about the transparency of the bill, because projects would have been exempt from the Open Public Records Act, and public projects could have bypassed local zoning ordinances and land use regulations because they would have been owned by private companies,” said Jeff Tittel. “The bill was made better when they took out microgrids, which could have been interpreted to build the Meadowlands Power Plant, but it still created a lot of controversy.”
A4382 (Pinkin): requires paint producers to implement or participate in a paint stewardship program.
“Governor Murphy has vetoed this paint stewardship program, but the DEP has no alternative program. This paint stewardship program was the only option we had. Now, Murphy has vetoed the safe reuse and recycling of paint. Paint that is not properly disposed of will continue to pollute our environment. Hazardous chemicals from paint, like volatile organic compounds and other flammable substances, will continue to contaminate our environment. These chemicals end up in our soil, groundwater, and air when paint is not disposed of properly,” said Jeff Tittel. “The Governor has vetoed this program without an alternative. By vetoing this bill, he has put our environment and our water at risk.”
A5432 (Milam/Land) / S3796 (Andrzejczak): requires DEP Commissioner to establish an individual transferable quota system for menhaden purse seine fishery.
“Menhaden are an important species and the food supply and stability of our fisheries, but this law will lead to overfishing of this critical fish. This new law will privatize the regulation and mandate by setting up this quote system. By locking in quotas for different fishing interests, we believe it will lead to overfishing. What is an even bigger problem is the trading system of quotas. Menhaden are a critical link to the food web and are known as forage species. This means they function as a food source for larger species like bluefish and striped bass,” said Jeff Tittel. “This law will have a destructive domino effect throughout the marine food chain. It will not only impact these important species, but impact New Jersey’s commercial and recreational fisheries.”
A4136 (Andrzejczak/Land/Milam): permits commercial fishing vessels to possess more than the daily trip limit of black sea bass and summer flounder, under certain conditions.
“We are concerned that this new law will directly threaten the sustainable fisheries practices that have helped our fish populations recover over the past decade. Overfishing hurts populations, ecologies, and fishing industries in the long-term. Pollution and overfishing threaten black sea bass numbers. By giving in to the commercial fishing industry, they’ll be killing the goose that lays the golden egg,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “If we regulate and protect these fisheries, we’ll keep them sustainable for years to come. If we overfish them now, it will hurt us in the future.”