Banning Local Restrictions on Plastic Bags

UPDATE: Unfortunately, HB 1053 was signed into law by Governor Pence. Please continue to voice your displeasure of the anti-environmental policies put forth by the Indiana legislature and stay engaged – together we can continue to make a difference as we did with our defeat of other dangerous policies this year.

plastic1Despite the oft-cited love that our lawmakers claim to have for “home rule”, the influence of special interests continues to dominate Indiana politics. HB 1053, which has passed out of the state legislature and is awaiting Governor Pence’s signature, will make it illegal for local governments to ban or tax the use of plastic bags. This bill will not only prevent Bloomington from enacting a ban as had been in the works, it also prevents any cities or towns from implementing a tax or ban in the future.

Plastic bags are a waste of resources and energy. A study done by the non-partisan Equinox Center projected that a ban in San Diego, California would reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as solid waste. This study also predicted that retailers in San Francisco would save over $3 million annually due to not having to pay for so many single-use bags.

Plastic bags not only litter our land and waters, they are often ingested by wildlife and make their way into the ocean. In fact, a study conducted last year shows that there are eight million tons of plastic dumped into the oceans every year, which is the equivalent of five grocery bags per every foot of coastline around the globe. Americans alone throw away approximately 100 billion plastic grocery bags annually. Over 260 species of animals have been harmed by plastic bags, either through ingestion or entanglement. In fact, tens of thousands of whales, seals, birds, and turtles die every year due to contact with plastic bags in the sea. (Source)

At a time when all Hoosiers should be calling for more environmental protection, it is irresponsible of our state lawmakers to pass a law that prevents us from protecting our state – and planet – from further degradation.