This Washington

Grover Norquist Loves Plastic Bags

By Erica C. Barnett January 12, 2012

Conservative activist Grover Norquist, apparently taking a break from opposing all taxes and supporting Ron Paul, wrote a lengthy letter to Washington State legislators urging them to vote against a proposed plastic bag ban, arguing that it is "not based on factual evidence."

However, it's Norquist who doesn't appear to have his facts straight: The letter (which appears to be a boilerplate piece opposing bag bans in general) calls state Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon's (D-34, Burien, W. Seattle) proposed ban an unnecessary tax and "regulatory burden" on consumers. The proposal does not include any new taxes.

Norquist also cites an unidentified "study" showing that plastic bag litter in San Francisco actually increased after the bags were banned. In reality, plastic litter dropped by 50 percent after the ban was put in place.

Finally, Norquist makes a plea for public health, arguing that reusable bags are disgusting:
ests on reusable bags were conducted by a Miami news station. These researchers found that a reusable bag that carried meat was “covered in bacteria.” A bag that was used to transport produce contained “80 organisms of coliform,” a bacteria that is found in the feces of warm-blooded animals. I’m sure that we can all agree that this is not something we want near the groceries that we’re feeding our families and loved ones.

Fitzgibbon says he isn't aware of any credible studies that show reusable bags are a bacteria-ridden menace, and adds: "I think it's kind of flattering that there's national attention on this issue, but I don't think anyone should be surprised that Grover Norquist doesn't care about Puget Sound or the impacts of plastic bags on marine mammals.

"This is the guy who wants to drown government in a bathtub. I'm sure he doesn't mind if orcas are drowning in plastic bags in the Puget Sound."
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