Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Legislature Drops the Ball, Rejects Bottle Bill Update

Press Release

Today, the Legislature dropped the ball once again, as the final FY14 budget was reported out of the budget conference committee without the Updated Bottle Bill in it. The Senate had voted unanimously to include the Updated Bottle Bill in its version of the FY14 budget,  and while the House never considered it in their budget,  76 members of the House are cosponsors of the bill. But when the  budget conference committee--which meets behind closed doors and does not record individual votes--was finished resolving the differences between the House and Senate budgets, the Updated Bottle Bill was not included.

"The conference committee snatched defeat from the jaws of victory," commented Janet Domenitz, Executive Director of MASSPIRG. "The Updated Bottle Bill is wildly popular with the public, with over 100 organizations, with 208 cities and towns, with 350 small businesses. The Legislature had a chance to make this bill law and they ignored it."

The Updated Bottle Bill, which would add a nickel deposit to beverage containers such as water and sports drinks, has been pending in the Legislature for several years. The single most effective recycling tool in the state, the current bill, which has been on the books since the early 80's, reduces container litter by 80%. "As beach season gets underway, it's a dramatic reminder of how much litter and trash we could get rid of if we simply put that nickel deposit on more beverages," said Ryan Black of the Sierra Club, another Updated Bottle Bill supporter. "Our environment would be cleaner and healthier if we could recycle more of these plastic bottles which are trashing our ocean, our parks, and our open spaces,"added Ken Pruitt of the Environmental League of MA. The coalition pushing this bill includes the League of Women Voters, the South Shore Recycling Cooperative, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, and over 90 other local and statewide groups. The coalition will continue to vigorously pursue this long overdue reform.

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