Conservation

This November election New Jersey residents will have the opportunity to vote on a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment.  Public Question No. 2 would dedicate 6% of Corporation Business Tax revenue to the preservation of open space, farmland and historic sites while ending the current dedication of 4% of the same revenue for environmental programs.  The new allocation would last 30 years through 2045.  The measure would also dedicate...

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Eight years ago, a statewide ballot initiative ended the hunting of mourning doves in Michigan. Ever since then, Matt Evans of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs notes, sportsmen in the state have been concerned about what animal hunts might be banned next.

They turned those concerns into action this year, resulting in legislative enactment this summer of a citizen-initiated statute. The law requires future decisions on hunting, fishing and trapping of different species to be controlled by the seven-member, governor-appointed Natural Resources Commission.

Yesterday, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced its decision to add 180 animals and plants to its endangered species list as state scientists undergo their first official update in 17 years. The department noted that progress had been to remove 29 species from the list, including the bald eagle, the gray wolf and snapping turtle, but more landscape wide solutions need to be implemented to counteract the loss of prairie habitat, the surge of invasive pests, and harmful impacts from pollution.

There has been a wave of legislation in 2013 regarding the banning of single-use plastic shopping bags. Los Angeles has become the largest city with a plastic bag ban; starting in 2014 all plastic bags will be banned and there will be a 10 cent fee for paper bags starting with large stores and phasing in smaller retailers later in the year.

A revealing piece was published last week in the Wall Street Journal documenting an uptick in clear cutting and logging activity in the US tied directly and indirectly to meeting the European Commission's greenhouse gas reduction requirement and 20 percent renewable energy mandate.

New Jersey state agriculture officials recently announced a victory in the daunting task of battling invasive pests with the eradication of the Asian long-horned beetle. The 10 year effort required the removal of more than 20,000 infected trees and through its successful quarantine program, it's now the second state (after Illinois) to have confirmed the eradication of the destructive pest that bores into America's most common tree species like maple, birch, and poplar.

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