These 6 States Want to Ban Plastic Bag Bans (Yes, You Read That Right)
Plastic bags—those non-biodegradable menaces that clog up our drawers, waterways and roadways alike—have been public enemy No. 1 in many cities and even entire states which have legislated bans on these single-use pesks. But now, a growing number of pro-plastic states are spearheading bans on bag bans.
Multiple states are considering laws that will block local plastic bag bans. Photo credit: Flickr
As Plastic News reported, it all started last April when Gov. Douglas Ducey (R) signed into law a measure that would stop any local government from putting any restrictions on plastic bags, bottles, foam containers, cans and boxes. State lawmakers who wanted to stop the bans argued that "excessive regulation" on bags and other disposable containers would stifle economic growth. Ducey also signed another bill that would give state legislators the right to ask the attorney general's office to investigate a local policy that is acting contrary to the state law.
A bill that would have prevented cities from banning the use of plastic grocery bags passed in the House but was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon (D) in July. Rep. Dan Shaul (R), who sponsored the bill, had strongly opposed plastic bag bans, such as the one being considered in the city of Columbia.
“There are things that local municipalities can do to benefit their communities,” Shaul said in September. “There’s a whole list of things that fit in that, but I don’t think prohibiting retailers from using a plastic bag is anything anyone should be restricting. It gives ultimate local control to their consumers.”
While no cities in the state currently enforce plastic bag bans, that detail did not stop the Senate from voting to make it illegal for local governments to impose bag bans without getting state approval first. Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter (R) is expected to sign the bill into law any day now. According to Plastic News, Idaho is home to a major plastic film and bag factory.
Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed a new state law this week that prohibits city and county officials from taxing or restricting the use of disposable plastic bags by grocery stores and other retailers, the Associated Press reported. The measure, which immediately takes effect, will stop cities such as Bloomington from considering bag restrictions.
The Indiana ban on plastic bag restrictions is needless state meddling in local control. #Disappointed @GovPenceIN https://t.co/0LmiVFnY63— Julia Spangler (@Julia Spangler)1458905803.0
The state is another step closer to entirely blocking bag bans after the State Assembly "easily approved" a bill that "would strip communities of the right to ban the bags" earlier this month, MPR reported. Like Idaho, the move to pre-empt plastic bag bans comes despite the absence of such bans in any city across the state.
A bill from Sen. Jani Iwamoto (D) called for a state-wide 10-cent fee on single-use paper and plastic bags but the state legislature wrapped up its 2016 session without voting on the bill, according to Plastic News. However, another version is expected to return next year.
Meanwhile, the two states that have actually passed plastic bags bans are facing hurdles. California banned plastic bags outright in 2015, but opponents of the ban have qualified a referendum on the law, which will be decided this November by voters.
Hawaii also has a ban on plastic bags but certain loopholes have allowed the distribution of "reusable" bags—which are just thicker plastic bags—that could actually be worse for the environment.
Students spend their spring break trying to save California's plastic bag ban https://t.co/NxBGRJQfRc https://t.co/DtNlJw4P0h— #NBC7 San Diego (@#NBC7 San Diego)1458978435.0
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At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
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