Plastic bag ban: Columnist got it right

To the editor:

Stephanie Haines’ column (“Legislature’s choices boggle the mind, March 17, A6) about single-use plastic bags certainly seemed sensible to me.

Local communities should be the ones to decide whether to ban these bags. The damage they and other plastic products do to the environment is widespread and more complex and long-lasting than many understand. Why should the state prevent communities from doing whatever they can to help solve the problem?

State Rep. Ron Bacon’s letter to the editor surprised me. Why would he bother arguing with a mere local columnist, thus drawing even more attention to her and inspiring curious people like me to go back and reread her column and do some checking?

OK, it’s understandable that he would want to make it clear that he has no connection to the company, Berry Plastics, that Haines mentioned. But beyond that?

Other states have enacted similar laws, and the fishy smell that Haines mentioned reeks of ALEC. Several years ago, I learned of the existence of the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization which works with corporations and state legislators to write model bills which their member legislators can, if they choose, present to their state legislatures as their own ideas.

I don’t know if that is true in Rep. Bacon’s case and, at any rate, it is not illegal. When states across the nation are considering similar legislation, I always suspect ALEC.

For those who care to investigate further, there is a lot of fascinating information to explore. I’ll cite only one quote from the Center for Media and Democracy: “A group calling itself the ‘American Progressive Bag Alliance,’ a trade group that has been funded by plastics manufacturers…paid an unknown sum to ALEC to present a ‘workshop’ to policy-makers claiming that plastic bag regulations are ‘ill advised and deliberately misleading legislation.'”

Rita McBride