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Ohio GOP blocking environmental safety

DEAR EDITOR:

Gov. DeWine and Ohio Republicans have banned Ohio communities from curbing the use of plastic bags and helping to reduce harm to our environment. Once again, Ohio State Republicans are blocking the way towards a cleaner, safer environment just like they did with the passage of the corrupt House Bill 6, the FirstEnergy bailout.

The U.S. EPA reports that more than 14.5 million tons of plastic containers and packaging became municipal solid waste in 2018. Yet, consumers use the plastic bags an average of 12 minutes before being tossed aside and ending up in landfills and natural environments.

It’s interesting to note Ohio Sen. Michael Rulli, R-Salem, sponsored the original SB 222, to pre-empt local governments from banning or taxing single-use plastic bags. His family also has owned local grocery stores since 1917.

Some Ohio communities like Cuyahoga County, Cincinnati and Bexley near Columbus had passed fees or restrictions on plastic bag use to encourage the use of reusable bags. Residents of Cuyahoga County alone dispose of 319 million plastic bags per year.

At least 125 jurisdictions in 22 states already have adopted some form of control over the distribution of single-use carryout bags, according to legislative testimony data last year.

The action by Gov. DeWine and the Republican state legislators to stop communities from controlling the use of single-use plastic puts Ohio behind the curve once again.

The sponsor of the budget amendment to permanently disallow communities’ restrictions of single-use plastic claims the patchwork of local communities’ resolutions causes confusion. Ohio state Republican legislators must pass state level legislation that gives us cleaner communities and reduces landfill buildup of non-biodegradable packaging. If they are unwilling to do that, then they should get out of the way and let Ohio’s communities decide what is best for themselves.

KAREN ZEHR

Warren

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