After its resurrection from a shallow grave in Senate Finance, House Bill 56 is back! Unfortunately it still has the detrimental Plastic Bag Ban Repeal for the Outer Banks region. We still encourage members to vote NO on H56 in its current form. It is scheduled for a vote on the Senate floor today at 4pm.
Plastic bags are proven to have a demonstrable negative effect on coastal and sea ecosystems. Animals likely to be severely affected by this repeal include sea turtles, fish, seabirds, among others. These bags are silent killers and are ingested by sea creatures, either strangling them or causing serious health issues. Plastic bags have also been found in the guts of 55% of coastal NC birds species.
Not only would keeping the ban help protect coastal creatures, it is strongly favored by the public including those who live in the Outer Banks. Kill Devil Hills, Dare County, Kure Beach, Carolina Beach, Nags Head, and Manteo have all recently passed resolutions opposing lifting the ban, and the official tourism authority for the Outer Banks highlights the plastic bag ban on their website. Every year, nearly 3 million out of state tourists visit the Outer Banks and contribute about $225,000,000 to the state economy, supporting nearly 3,000 jobs locally. One reason these visitors come is to enjoy the serene and beautiful scenery of the Outer Banks, which is jeopardized by the proliferation of plastic across the coast.
Businesses support keeping the plastic bag ban in place. The Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce’s 1,100 members were asked about it and out of 500 responders, only 2 opposed the ban.
North Carolina Senators should vote NO on H56 due to its clear environmental harm as well as the repercussions for coastal tourism and wildlife. Activists and businesspeople have demonstrated agreement that the ban is beneficial to the environment and to the community.