Monday, March 18, 2013
Dwaine Caraway wants to ban single-use plastic bags in Dallas
Says Caraway: "“Pull up your pants and put away the bags.”
DALLAS Every few years, the city of Dallas considers banning the plastic bag … and every few years the city of Dallas tosses the idea into another plastic bag that winds up stuck in a tree. But with Austin’s plastic-bag ban now in effect after a year’s worth of hand-wringing and lawsuit-filing, council member Dwaine Caraway is ready to give it another go in Dallas: This morning he asked City Attorney Tom Perkins to draft an ordinance — “immediately,” says Caraway — and present it to the city council for review.
“Austin has set a tone,” says Caraway, echoing city officials in Santa Fe and other cities in recent weeks. “It’s such a problem here in the city, where you see the bags flying everywhere — in the trees, in parks, everywhere. What’s wrong with paper bags? We had them all your life and all my life, and you didn’t see them everywhere. It’s an environmental concern. Let’s try to follow in Austin’s footsteps.”
Which won’t be as easy as it sounds: The American Chemistry Council has made banning a ban on plastic bags its main mission, insisting back in ’08 that forcing stores to go paper-only would “have negative consequences on the local environment, the economy and the school system.” Austin’s ban inspired a lawsuit, and just two weeks ago, freshman state Rep. Drew Springer, a Republican from Muenster, filed the Shopping Bag Freedom Act that would overturn the Austin ordinance.
“This act is just the latest example of government elites trying to step between the business and consumer in an attempt to push forward a misguided nanny-state agenda,” said Springer.
Perkins says he can’t talk about his conversation with Caraway, who says he hopes to see a proposed ordinance by as early as tomorrow. Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan said last month that Dallas is a year or two away from even considering a ban; the former mayor’s not willing to wait.
“We’re gonna deal with it,” says Caraway, who will have the support of the Ban the Bag-gers on Facebook and the 471 folks who’ve signed the petition calling for the ban of the single-use plastic bag in Dallas. “It’s something I think will make our city a cleaner city, and all the stores have to do is figure out another way to bag their stuff. And I do not support you having to spend $4 to buy a bag. That’s the stores’s responsibility; they should figure out a way for you to bring your groceries home.”
Lawsuits and lobbyists don’t scare him, says Caraway, who jokes that he’s got just the motto for his latest cruisade: “Pull up your pants and put away the bags.”