(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)
Here is interesting commentary on the (temporarily anyway) banning of the banning of single-use plastic bags, an ordinance proposed by our Environmental Advisory Council and point person Beth Behrend that Gadfly reported on a few weeks ago.
Wait till next year, Beth!
In the final days of budget negotiations, a powerful state senator quietly inserted language in a budget related bill that would prevent Pennsylvania from regulating single use plastic bags.
State Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) inserted a provision in the fiscal code that would prohibit the commonwealth and its municipalities from regulating single-use plastic bags and other containers for one year — ostensibly to allow more time to study the issue.
Sen. Corman’s district includes a single-use plastic bag manufacturing plant — Hilex Poly in Milesburg, Centre County. This plant is owned by Novolex, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of single-use plastic bags. Novolex has lobbied against plastic bag regulation in other states.
Given the backdrop of these national, state and municipal plastic bag programs, Corman’s assertion that another year of study is needed before Pennsylvania or its municipalities should consider enacting plastic bag regulations lacks plausibility. To the contrary, Corman’s actions are consistent with a continuing, parochial effort to protect the Novolex plastic bag manufacturing plant in his district.
Legislation to prevent plastic bag regulation has been opposed by most Pennsylvania municipal associations, including the Pennsylvania Municipal League, The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors and the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs. Local governments want the tools of plastic-bag fees and bans to help them deal with local problems such as litter, the clogging of storm drains and sewers, and the stressing of landfills.
Much-needed plastic bag regulations will be prevented or delayed because our elected officials in Harrisburg have allowed the actions of one powerful senator to carry the day.