Oregon’s Plastic Bag Ban Bill Causes Heavy Debate
Posted by Ted Duboise
Both For and Against, Oregon’s plastic bag ban bill has stimulated high controversy. The bill, SB 536 is being considered by the state legislature in this session.
SB 536 has brought to the battle:
the plastic bag industry
indirectly related groups
and of course, environmentalists
Starting with newspapers around the state, the battle has raged; some opposed, some for the bill, but most printing both sides of the argument. Some of the headlines:
Democrat Herald: Oregon House Republicans May Kill Ban On Plastic Bags
Statesman Journal: Tell us again, why should Oregon ban (some) plastic bags
Portland Tribune: Facts don’t support bag ban
Oregonian: Stop Crying Over A Plastic Bag Ban
Environmentalists are rallying high for Oregon to be the first state in the US to ban plastic bags. Why? When an entire state finally bans plastic bags, undoubtedly others will follow.
EnvironmentOregon.org has a petition to sign and send to legislators to ban the bag.
Oregon Surfrider Foundation has statewide campaigns. The Portland chapter created a website: Oregon Ban The Bag.
Tualatin Riverkeepers have a petition site on Facebook.
Bag It Oregon offers this video: Bag It Oregon
The plastic bag industry has made a huge presence in the state since SB 536 was introduced. Here is an articled which appeared in The Oregonian: Bag Ban Like Bottle Bill. Here is another article about claims and counterclaims between Sen Mark Hass, who introduced SB 536 and Hilex Poly, the largest plastic bag maker in America: Sen. Hass says manufacturer offers recycling center to kill bill.
Hilex Poly, who by the way, is a great corporate citizen and is very environmentally conscious, is simply fighting for their product to not be killed. For the fight, they created a website specifically targeted at the Oregon plastic bag ban. Visit: Bag the Ban, Oregon.
Another group that has come out against banning plastic bags in Oregon is the National Taxpayers Union. In an article titled “Don’t Eliminate Shoppers’ Choices – Oppose The Plastic Bag Ban”, NTU says that all Oregonians would be punished for simply shopping. The NTU should read: “Plastic Bag Ban Guarantees Individual Rights”.
Several cities across Oregon have passed resolutions in support of passing SB 536 to ban plastic bags across the state. Most agree that it would be better to have a state legislated ban for uniformity throughout the state rather than individual bans passed by several cities.
On January 18th, the City of Beaverton passed a resolution supporting the Oregon Legislative Assembly passing legislation which bans single-use plastic and recycled content paper checkout bags. The cities of Portland and Lake Oswego passed similar resolutions along with Cannon Beach, Tillamook, and others.
The Northwest Grocers Association backs the Oregon ban on plastic bags. Reportedly, they worked with the sponsors of SB 536 to ensure the language of the bill would be suitable to their members. On their website, under 2011 Legislative Issues, plastic bag bans are at the top.
So the heavy debate continues – until the State Legislature decides Yes or No to a statewide ban on plastic bags in Oregon. Will Oregon be the first state in the US to ban plastic bags? . . . Stay Tuned.