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Plastic bag fee bill supported in state Capitol display

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Four hundred plastic grocery bags were staked to the state Capitol lawn along Beretania Street today to call attention to a Senate Bill that would impose a 10-cent fee on the disposable sacks and their paper counterparts and channel some of the revenue to fund watershed protection projects.

Girl Scout and Kalani High School sophomore Diana Sellner, along with about 15 of her friends, created the outdoor display to illustrate the number of disposable bags used by the average person on Oahu each year (a total of 400 million bags).

“It’s a really good cause to help people of future generations,” Sellner said following an afternoon press event held near the display. 

Sen. Mike Gabbard (D, Waikele-Ko Olina), one of the senators who introduced of the bill, said SB 2511 is “a win-win” because “it cleans up our precious aina and it raises money to protect our watersheds.”

The bill would allot $800,000 of the projected revenues to the Department of Health to run and enforce the program and $11 million would go to the Department of Land and Natural Resources to pay for its ambitious watershed projects.

If passed, the bill would not supercede county ordinances recently passed on Maui, Kauai and Hawaii that ban plastic grocery bags.

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