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."
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