By Elizabeth Hoffman
Last Wednesday, the Arizona State Capitol-House of Representatives held a meeting regarding the house bill HB2130 and HB2131 that allows legislators to take away communities’ local control, which is similar to a bill that was passed nine months ago called the SB1241.
The SB1241 was a strike-everything amendment on auxiliary containers, an inability to recycle materials that are simple to recycle, as well as energy benchmarking. Even though Noel Campbell, the Republican House of Representative, fought against SB1241, the bill was still passed and signed into law.
The HB2130 and HB2131 are bills that have been split to form two separate bills. These bills function as a serious and damaging matter towards the environment, the people, and the economy. As stated on Change.org, “This is not a case specific to Arizona, but it being pushed nationally by the conservative groups ALEC and ACCE, who pair corporate lobbyists with conservative legislators to introduce legislation that promotes corporate interests – which in the case of plastic bags, is the petroleum industry.” The continuation of this problem will pose a major risk not only to the state of Arizona, but other states as well.
If passed, both bills will interfere with local governments who work alongside city waste management agencies, college and high school students, nonprofit organizations, businesses, retirees, and voluntary citizens that find ways to diminish plastic bags in the waste stream. Rather than state politicians making this vital decision, it should be up to the local participants to decide, which will require a heavy amount of reflection, centered on “bans, fees, and/or a greater recycling effort.” The HB2130 hinders residents and building owners from receiving better information in order to make educated decisions.
The meeting held several debates, as some were opposed of the bill and some were supportive towards it. There was one specific individual who spoke about this situation and opposed it: Sandy Bahr, the director of Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter. Bahr discussed how amending HB2130 and HB2131 would create an eco-friendly environment, save money, reduce energy use, and give owners positive benefits. However, passing the bill will cause negative environmental and economic impacts, such as: Phoenix alone has to spend at least $1 million annually due to plastic bags congesting the recycling equipment at the City of Phoenix Materials Recovery Failure; the annual spending due to litter at the Cinder Lake Landfill in Flagstaff is roughly $66,700; and landfills spend over $200,000 every year due to plastic bags, as well as repair costs and recycling equipment breakdown.
By opposing the bill, this will allow local governments to continuously work with their local inhabitants and businesses. The HB2130 and HB2131 are not new, as it was taken up for debate last year and wasn’t eradicated. This year, with more individuals fighting against the wrongdoings that this bill will cause, the state of Arizona will be a step closer to a healthier environment and economy.
As of February 1, both bills have passed out of rules committee.
For more information and to sign the petition against HB2130 and HB2131 visit Change.org.