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While it may be the first day of spring on the calendar, the Legislature stopped the clock today when the massively popular Updated Bottle Bill was stalled once again. The Joint Committee on Telecom, Utilities and Energy, chaired by Rep. John Keenan of Salem and Sen. Ben Downing of Pittsfield, ‘extended’ their review of the Bottle Bill until 6/15/12, almost one full year after the public hearing where it was considered, and just weeks before the end of the session.
“This popular measure, which would increase recycling and reduce litter, has been ‘extended’ for over a decade,” commented Janet Domenitz, Executive Director of MASSPIRG. “This bill, supported by 77% of the public, 207 cities and towns, and hundreds of small businesses, has been bottled up way too long.”
Eva Valentine, president of the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts said, “Our membership is profoundly disappointed by a process which is dragging out and deferring action on such an important bill.”
The campaign for the updated bottle bill includes over 90 organizations, among them the Environmental League of MA, the Mass Municipal Association, Mass Audubon, and many more. In addition, 350 businesses and 207 cities and towns have all passed resolutions in support. “The delay follows 14 years of inactivity on the bill as corporate special interests have repeatedly derailed the democratic process on Beacon Hill. The good weather brings us outside, only to be reminded of the litter and waste that clutters our neighborhoods and parks because the legislature has failed to vote on this bill," said James McCaffrey, Director of the Massachusetts Sierra Club.
The Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts and its 196 garden clubs across the State—totaling 2,400 members—considers the latest stalling by the TUE committee of this well-supported Bottle Bill a darn shame. Heidi Kost-Gross, President of the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts, emphaszied that "member garden clubs, leaders in their communities, are most disappointed by this decision and fervently hope that this bill will be passed this year."
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