Another win for local environmental rights

Governor Wolf has now vetoed a bill that would have allowed the state to override local rights in one more area: HB 1071 would have put into PA law that “no political subdivision may impose a ban, fee, surcharge or tax on a recyclable plastic bag supplied by a retail establishment to a purchaser of consumer goods at the point of sale.” .

Anyone who believes in “small government” and local rights should logically believe that a municipality should be allowed to reduce use of disposable plastic bags, which almost always go into the trash or environment. In fact, with the failure of this bill, it is allowed.

Among Chester County’s 9 state representatives, Carolyn Comitta (D-156) voted against the bill, as did Harry Lewis (R-74) and Duane Milne (R-167), while Tim Hennessy (R-26) did not vote. The other 5, all R’s, voted for the bill

PA Rep. Greg Vitale (D-166) explains why…

Governor Wolf Should Veto Plastic Bag Bill

Rep. Greg Vitali, June 15, 2017

One-hundred-billion plastic bags pass through the hands of U.S. consumers every year — almost one bag per person each day, according to Earth Policy Institute. But only about 1 percent of these bags are recycled, leaving the rest to litter our streets, pollute our waterways and stress our landfills.

Yet, despite opposition from numerous municipalities, municipal associations and environmental groups, the Pennsylvania House and Senate recently passed legislation that would prevent local governments from enacting laws to address their plastic bag problems. House Bill 1071 now sits on Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk awaiting either his signature or veto.

This bill would prohibit Pennsylvania cities, counties, townships and boroughs from imposing a ban, fee, tax or surcharge on single-use plastic bags at retail stores.

This legislation is being driven by Novolex, the world’s largest manufacturer of single-use plastic bags. Novolex owns the Helix Poly plant in Milesburg, Pa. – an area that is represented by one of the prime sponsors of the bill. Novolex has been active in promoting this type of legislation in other states.

Some 165 municipalities across the United States have adopted some form of single-use plastic bag legislation, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and New York City, according to the Plastic Ban Bag Report, a national advocacy group.

The evidence shows that this legislation has been effective. Following implementation of a citywide 5-cent-per-bag fee in 2010, the presence of bags in Washington, D.C., decreased by about 67 percent….

read more at Rep. Greg Vitali


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