Thursday, December 9, 2010

Virginian-Pilot Supports Bag Legislation

Communities in Virginia are starting to agitate for the ability to pass their own legislation reducing the use of plastic bags in their boundaries. Both Arlington and Roanoke are asking the General Assembly to grant this permission in the upcoming General Assembly session next month.

Unfortunately, Virginia is loathe to grant more freedom to its cities and counties, and good ideas like this have little chance of happening. As the Roanoke Times recently said, their proposal will probably have a shorter life than "a thin plastic sack packed with 8-penny nails."

The Virginian-Pilot wrote an editorial today supporting bag bans and fees, and supporting the rights of municipalities to pass their own such legislation:

But Roanoke's push for a ban is encouraging, and other communities statewide should follow suit. ... As the Farm Bureau can attest, there's more than aesthetics - or mowing time - at stake here. In addition to helping livestock and harvests, a ban would benefit wildlife and marine life, particularly sea turtles, that eat or become entangled in the plastic.
Shifting from plastic bags would also reduce the energy consumed to produce the bags, conserve space in expensive and overburdened landfills, where plastic takes decades to degrade, if it ever does.
Virginia lawmakers have shown no inclination to follow the lead of North Carolina and others on this issue. But if Virginians as diverse as environmentalists, farmers and advocates for wildlife and beautification speak up, perhaps there's hope the politicians will eventually listen.