Kristen Meidt Environmental Politics Environmental politics is an essential part of our society to preserve our natural world and

benefit our people and planet. There have been many environmental policies implemented in our country and state, but passing legislation is an ongoing process with new issues arising all the time. Mutual efforts between government officials and organized citizens are crucial in the development of environmental policies. There are coordinated efforts of volunteers and non-profit organizations that implement proactive solutions to dealing with environmental issues. By lobbying and being politically active, environmental organizations like the Sierra Club, can usually facilitate positive policies for wilderness into action and law. To create environmental legislation there are a few ways to initiate the political process. Organized environmentalists lobby by creating petitions, like for wilderness preservation and protection. Other times, they endorse government officials to make decisions in their favor. Sometimes people go directly to the elected official to present environmental problems and solutions. Although the process of policy making can be tedious and long, action and commitment have proven to better our wilderness many times. For example, there is a federal wildlife scenic act that protects categories of rivers. To preserve a river there must be approval from all surrounding municipal counties and their mayors. Then, resolutions that are passed go to the state senator and then on to congress. Some rivers that are protected in our area that have been enacted are the Great Egg Harbor River, the Delaware River, and Maurice River. “Partnership Rivers” depend on a coordinated effort from people and elected officials. Sometimes environmental organizations don’t win the favor of political leaders. For years people have been trying to pass a “Safe Container Act” in New Jersey that would yield a fifteen cent deposit on all bottles and cans. This law could benefit the consumers and promote recycling. But, the endorsements from environmental organizations can’t compete with those of wealthy industries. The one environmental lobbyist in this case stands against a dozen industrial lobbyists. Standing against the corporate lobbyists is probably a daunting task because there are many issues that are ongoing. For example, environmentalists have been fighting the dredging of the

Delaware River because the unearthed soil will be dumped onto the shores. Another petition has to do with PSE&G because they are trying to build a high voltage power line that would be destructive to the area. Also people are trying to promote experimental projects that supply electricity to communities from solar powered fields. In these instances collaboration between environmental organizations and government officials can become complicated. Environmental lobbyists must be determined and devoted to endorsing policies that are smart for our planet. Although legislation can be difficult due to lobbying competitors, environmentalists have many enacted policies. People are concerned about our environment and need to work with the government to address the issues. Environmental policies are initiated by people that are politically motivated to save the environment and are beneficial to people and wilderness.