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Opponents Try to Sack Bag Tax

Plastic bag makers are aggressively lobbying against legislation that could create the toughest restrictions in the country on plastic and paper bags.

In anticipation of tomorrow's public hearing on the Anacostia River Cleanup & Protection Act of 2009, the Progressive Bag Affiliates of the American Chemistry Council have rallied some residents against the measure. Residents in wards 7 and 8 have received automated calls about the bill. The argument is that the legislation would negatively impact low-income residents.

The legislation would impose a five-cent fee on bags at grocery stores, liquor stores and other businesses serving food to encourage consumers to use reusable bags. Council members, who introduced the legislation, say such a fee could stem the pollution of the Anacostia River.

There are 11 co-introducers, meaning the bill may be in the bag. Council members Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) and Kwame R. Brown (D-At Large) will hold a news conference before the 1 p.m. hearing.

Christine Nyirjesy Bragale, who is handling public relations for the Affiliates, said the group is upset about the fact that the first witness opposed to the legislation is No. 77 on the list for tomorrow's hearing. The group may hold its own news briefing before the council members' event.

Wells was dismissive of the group's complaint about being so far down on the list of witnesses. "It's first come, first served," Wells said. "If they wait until the end to hire their lobbyist...they may not be familiar with how D.C. works."

By Nikita R Stewart  |  March 31, 2009; 5:03 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. Council  
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Comments

"Christine Nyirjesy Bragale, who is handling public relations for the Affiliates, said the group is upset about the fact that the first witness opposed to the legislation is No. 77 on the list . . .."

Guess you are not a very good PR person, are you honey?

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | March 31, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Let's pass this DC! No more repeat of the bottle bill. Let's get THIS ONE THING on the pro environment side of the ticker (for once).

Posted by: sugarstreet | March 31, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Mary "Bag Lady" Cheh seeks to regulate how people buy their groceries. Not surprising, hardly even news.

Posted by: fwinstead | April 1, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Post editorial of March 27 supports the tax on plastic bags used by certain merchants. The measure is discriminatory and should be scrapped in favor of better recycling programs. Why should such a measure be limited to grocery stores? What about department stores, Radio Shack, pharmacies, and every other merchant? They all use plastic shopping bags. The bags are tremendously convenient, very energy efficient in terms of manufacture, and easily recyclable.

When I go to the grocery store, it often takes 10 or 15 of the plastic shopping bags to hold all of my family purchases. How practical is it to purchase and carry that many reusable shopping bags?

Why not charge an extra nickel for the one or two plastic bags that the Washington Post is delivered in to my driveway each morning. You think the newspaper is hurting financially now, but that would be another serious blow to home delivery subscriptions. What about a nickel for each plastic bag that holds a loaf of bread?

Posted by: RayMcAllister | April 1, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Actually, many foreign countries, particularly in Central America where the residents are often much poorer than even the poorest D.C. resident, charge for plastic shopping bags.

Posted by: AdamsMorganChick | April 1, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

When I go to the grocery store, it often takes 10 or 15 of the plastic shopping bags to hold all of my family purchases. How practical is it to purchase and carry that many reusable shopping bags?

Why not charge an extra nickel for the one or two plastic bags that the Washington Post is delivered in to my driveway each morning. You think the newspaper is hurting financially now, but that would be another serious blow to home delivery subscriptions. What about a nickel for each plastic bag that holds a loaf of bread?

Posted by: RayMcAllister
====

It's a one time purchase. And you mean to tell me, you have no canvas bags around your home now? Really? No, really? Meantime, those multiple plastic bags you are repeatedly picking up NEVER decompose. Never.

As for the Post, your days of home delivery are numbered. Enjoy it while you still have it.

Posted by: sugarstreet | April 1, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

The charge of elitism is bogus.

See

http://notionscapital.wordpress.com/2009/04/02/shopping-bag-bill-elitism-or-environmentalism/

Posted by: MikeLicht | April 3, 2009 3:35 AM | Report abuse

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