The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

The eco-left’s love of eco-taxes

Photo of Rory Cooper
Rory Cooper
Comm. Director, The Heritage Foundation

Earth Day is over, so you don’t have to worry about the special-interest eco-lobby for another 364 days, right? Wrong. If you’ve recently paid a five-cent tax on a plastic bag while living in or visiting our nation’s capital, then you’ve been punitively taxed by the eco-left for a behavior they don’t approve of, and you should be concerned. In fact, the $9.5 million D.C. bag tax is just another step of the eco-left’s plan to nickel and dime you into living an “approved” lifestyle, complete with high unemployment, “skyrocketing“ energy prices, stifled innovation and a sour economy.

The D.C. eco-tax was instituted in 2009 by the City Council at the behest of the Anacostia Watershed Society, who conveniently enough also collects and spends that money…your money. The purpose is reportedly to clean the Anacostia River, but according to D.C. Councilman Jack Evans, it really should be viewed as a “first step toward the long-term goal of severely limiting plastic bags and bottles nationwide.”

Of course, from Councilman Evans perspective, it may also be to stop the Anacostia Watershed Society from continually suing the District of Columbia for the real causes of the Anacostia pollution, which is raw sewage runoff caused by an “antiquated sewer system.”

The bag tax puts D.C. only behind San Francisco in the war against consumer convenience and behavior modification. Even in New York City, a city that is no stranger to regressively taxing your behavior, the Democrat-dominated city council refused to support Mayor Bloomberg’s call for a bag tax noting that “it would hurt consumers in tight times.”

But according to Brent Bolin, the Director of Advocacy for the Anacostia Watershed, any discussion on the tax’s impact on jobs and the economy are “scare tactics.” The poor people who are disproportionately hurt by the tax—by percentage of income, and the less likelihood that they have an expensive and elite hemp shopping bag available to them for their grocery runs—should feel comforted after being condescendingly told “they deserve a clean river.”

But let’s say that the impoverished mother going shopping for her family does have $2-$5 to shell out on each and every eco-fashionable and reusable bag she will need to carry her food items home—is she really cleaning the river?

In fact, “debris” was responsible for less than 1 percent of the leading polluters or stressors on U.S. river water quality in 2005 according to a scorecard by the Green Media Toolshed, an advocacy and organizational group for environmentalists that tracks state and EPA data to push for more government regulation. Much like the left tries to tell you spending taxpayer dollars will create jobs, they also like to create the myth that spending money to “be green” will somehow help the environment, rather than simply pad the pockets of the green movement.

And what about the people who work manufacturing plastic bags? Again, according to Brent Bolin, the bag tax (he cutely calls it a “fee”) cut the number of bags used in D.C. from 22 million to 3 million. If solar panel production fell by over 87 percent, we would have hearings on how to avert this crisis and subsidize the industry for “green jobs.” But the makers of plastic bags? Those jobs are a necessary casualty of eco-war.

  • Pingback: The Eco-Left’s Love of Eco-Taxes | Conservative Principles Now

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rory-Cooper/1003035033 Rory Cooper

    I will concede that the Anacostia Watershed Society does not stand at the lunch counter and personally demand your hard earned money, as an eco-left organization proud of raising your taxes should. They have DC bureaucrats do that for them. Great Fact Check AWS.

  • BBolin

    “The D.C. eco-tax was instituted in 2009 by the City Council at the behest of the Anacostia Watershed Society, who conveniently enough also collects and spends that money”

    The above quoted sentence is inaccurate. Anacostia Watershed Society does not collect or spend the bag fee money. The DC Dept. of the Environment does so, and they determine how to spend the proceeds within specific guidelines contained in the enacting legislation.