Text of Letter in Opposition to the Current Draft Plastic Bag Bill (H.3945)

Green Acton, Inc.
PO Box 1123
Acton, MA 01720

Rep. Robert DeLeo, Speaker of the MA House
House Committee on Ways and Means:
Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, Chair
Rep. Denise Garlick, Vice Chair
Rep. Elizabeth Malia, Assistant Vice Chair
Rep. Todd Samola, Ranking Minority Member

27 September 2019

Dear Representatives,

We are very disappointed to learn that a complete redraft of H.771 — An act reducing plastic bag pollution — emerged from the Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture as H.3945.

To date, approximately 122 towns across the Commonwealth, including Acton, have established single-use plastic checkout bag ban bylaws. We were very pleased earlier this year to see the progress of Senate bill S.462 and House bill H.771, acts conceived to reduce plastic bag pollution statewide, filed by Senator James Eldridge and Representative Lori Ehrlich.

We are, however, opposed to the changes from the original in the current version of H.3945. Our issues with the redraft include:

  • it allows for the distribution of thicker-weight plastic checkout bags
  • it does not include a fee on checkout bags; fees have been proven to increase the use of reusable bags
  • it adds unacceptable preemption language (lines 124–129)* that would make existing city ordinances (that allow for fees) and town bylaws (including Acton’s) “null and void”; this section eclipses the ability of localities to enact legislation they find appropriate, and is a tactic which, though widespread in the U.S., serves the interests of industry and abrogates the rights of residents of the Commonwealth to a healthful environment

Unless the redrafted bill can be amended to address our issues, we will oppose H.3945. Passing no statewide plastic bag bill would be better than passing the redrafted H.3945 now before your Committee.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Debra Simes, President and Jim Snyder-Grant, Vice-President
for the Board of Directors of Green Acton, Inc.

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