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Craig Keller, a longtime Republican activist, had high hopes of beating back the City Council's unanimous decision in December to put the kibosh on thin

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Petition to Spurn Plastic Bag Ban Goes Belly-Up

plastic ban.jpg
Craig Keller, a longtime Republican activist, had high hopes of beating back the City Council's unanimous decision in December to put the kibosh on thin plastic checkout bags at all retail and grocery stores.The effort has apparently crumpled. Keller was able only collect between 2,000 and 3,000 signatures -- far short of meeting yesterday's 16,000 deadline.

Keller, who gathered signatures to repeal a 20-cent fee on plastic and paper bags two years ago, has spent the past month running around seeking to enlist independent grocers and convenience store owners, as well as creating a website where people could download his petition.

The site also listed a phone number where Keller is heard railing again the council's decision. "It is a rare Seattleite," says Keller, "who does not use his plastic bag to line his wastebasket."

They have to find others way now of managing that messy wastebasket, as, beginnin July 1, plastic bags are off limits. The measure gives stores the option of charging a 5-cent fee for paper.

Dick Lilly, a manager at Seattle Public Utilities, says the city will soon begin to disseminate a brochure explaining the new law -- in five or six languages, no less -- and make personal visits to stores citywide.

Meanwhie, Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien, recently introduced legislation calling for a statewide ban. The first hearing on that bill is scheduled for Friday at 1:30 in front of the House Environment Committee.

We'll see what the plastics industry might have up their sleeve, as they managed to prevail in preventing California and Oregon from enacting statewide bans.

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