NJ Governor Vetoes Bill Placing Five-Cent Fee on Plastic Bags

NJ Governor Vetoes Bill Placing Five-Cent Fee on Plastic Bags

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday vetoed a bill that would have put a five-cent fee on buying plastic grocery bags, saying he agreed with the goal of reducing plastic pollution but insisting that the legislation was not broad enough, The Hill reported.

“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,” Murphy, a Democrat, said in the statement to lawmakers.

He emphasized that “In order to make a real difference, a single-use bag program must be devised and applied more broadly and consistently in a manner that would avoid loopholes that undermine the ultimate purpose of the program.”

Although numerous localities have either banned businesses from providing single-use plastic bags or placed fees on them, the bill would have resulted in the first statewide fee.

California, however, has an outright statewide ban on single-use plastic bags, according to NJ.com

Murphy’s concerns about the limits of the bill were shared by environmentalists, who also criticized the legislation because it called for the money collected to go to the state’s general funds and not be set aside for environmental programs, according to NorthJersey.com.

Business groups have opposed the potential affect a bag fee or ban would have on consumers, NJ.com reported

“To date, the state has not released any kind of analysis studying the impact of plastics as it relates to litter or other environmental concerns,” said New Jersey Business & Industry Association chief governmental affairs officer Chrissy Buteas. “We want to be sure that any measure impacting so many jobs will actually have the desired effect.”

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