UPDATE – July 23, 2009: In response to a proposed plastic bag fee in Seattle, the American Chemistry Council has invested more than $1 million dollars in opposition, the largest amount that an industry has ever spent on an initiative in the city. The election is August 18, 2009.
I have seen and heard pure evil, and it resides at http://www.stopthebagtax.com/ . Those long time bastions of environmental protection, the American Chemistry Council and the California Film Extruders and Converters Association, have ponied up big time for a website and widespread radio campaign in the time honored tradition of the Homeland Security Council’s orange alert. When the going gets tough, scare the living hell out of the public to get them on your side.
The polluters are scared to death about Assembly Bill 2058, the Levine, Davis and Brownley bill, that would put a quarter fee on all plastic bags from large retail stores. Over 90% of the revenues from the fees will go to local government to fight urban runoff pollution. The ad frightens the hell out of the listener by stating that the legislation will cost the average family $400 a year if it passes. One BIG assumption. The ad assumes that people will still be wasteful and extravagant enough to collect 1600 bags a year from stores, despite the quarter cost. I’m thinking that there aren’t too many people out there that will continue to shell out a quarter a bag. BYO Bag will be the new order of the day.
Also, I’m pretty sure that the polluters know that disposal of plastic bags is not occurring for free. San Francisco estimated that plastic bag disposal and recycling cost the city about 17 cents a bag. Guess who pays for that? Not the bag manufacturers or petrochemical industry that produced the bags, that’s for damn sure. You the taxpayer foots the bill. Also, plastic bags clog catch basin screens and catch basins, create urban blight on streets and in rivers and bays, and they wreak havoc on marine life. Does the polluter pay for environmental harm? No again.
AB 2058 will help break a 19 billion plastic bag a year addiction. The polluters know that the bill will be the beginning of the end for the disposable plastic bag manufacturers. The polluters know that at a 1 to 4% recycling rate, Californians can NOT recycle their way to a solution to the plastic bag problem. They don’t care. The stop the bag tax campaign is a pathetic sign of desperation, but more importantly, the ad campaign is a call to action for all who care about our rivers, lakes, and coastal waters.
Check out the Heal the Bay website and send out an action alert to your Senator urging them to support AB 2058.