by John Hawkins | August 19, 2009 1:07 pm
There was a ballot initiative in environmentally conscious Seattle that tells you a lot about the American people’s real attitude towards environmental issues:
Seattle voters have rejected a 20-cent fee for every paper or plastic bag they get from supermarkets, drug stores and convenience stores. The city’s incumbent mayor didn’t fare much better than the fee, trailing two challengers in a bid for a third term.
With about half the ballots counted in the all-mail vote, the bag fee was failing 58 percent to 42 percent in Tuesday’s primary.
City leaders had passed an ordinance to charge the bag fee, which was to start in January. But the plastics industry bankrolled a referendum to put the question to voters in Tuesday’s election.
Plastic bag makers have lobbied hard to defeat the fee, outspending opponents about 15 to 1.
Adam Parmer, a spokesman for the Coalition to Stop the Seattle Bag Tax, said the results show the bag fee was “a costly, unnecessary tax” and the wrong approach to changing behavior.
“Seattle voters have made it clear that this is not the approach they want to take in protecting the environment,” he said.
Supporters argue the fee would encourage more reusable bags, cut down on pollution and waste, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
…The city has said it expected to collect $10 million in annual revenue. Under the ordinance, small stores would keep the entire 20-cent fee. Stores with gross sales of more than $1 million a year keep 5 cents, and the rest goes to city recycling and environmental education programs.
EVERYBODY says that they’re for the environment and most people mean it — up to a point. People want clean air, clean water, safe food, and a safe environment and they’re willing to pay for it.
However, when you start getting beyond the things we all agree on into the fringes — which incidentally, is where the environmental movement in this country lives — Americans don’t have as much tolerance for this nonsense as polling data about the “environment” might indicate.
This tax on grocery bags was very small, but since most Americans go to the grocery store, it affected them and so, even in Seattle, they’re saying “no” to it.
The majority of Americans are simply not going to go along with rolling back their lifestyle in the name of “the environment.” They don’t want to drive crummy cars because it might help the environment. They don’t want to pay higher energy bills because it might have some negligible impact on global warming in 100 years. They don’t want to see their friends told that they can’t build an addition to their house because it might harm an endangered crapweasel that moved in nearby.
When Republicans start to understand this dynamic, they’ll stop signing on to ridiculous farces like Cap and Trade and they’ll spend more time paying attention to the handful of environmental issues that really move Americans.
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