Friday, November 4, 2011

Say ‘no’ to corporate pressure

By W.A.T.E.R. (We Appreciate the Earth's Resources)

We are members of W.A.T.E.R. (We Appreciate the Earth's Resources), a high school club that wishes to raise awareness of environmental issues. We have learned that many other communities throughout the United States have adopted local laws reducing the use of plastic bags. To pass a similar law, we have gathered enough signatures to place a proposed law on the ballot that would reduce the use of plastic bags within Hailey.

The proposed law is called the Plastic Bag Reduction Act and will be voted on by Hailey voters on Nov. 8. During the campaign, we have encountered significant opposition from an out-of-state plastic bag manufacturer, Hilex Poly. Hilex Poly is a South Carolina company with plants throughout the United States, including Jerome. We have been told that Hilex Poly does not provide plastic bags to Atkinsons' but may provide plastic bags to Albertsons.

In one article of the Idaho Mountain Express, a New York publicist was speaking on behalf of Hilex Poly and both in the paper and in mailers, they claim that jobs will be lost if this initiative is passed. This is clearly not true, we believe, as only the relatively small number of bags at our local Albertsons are made by Hilex Poly while the Jerome plant ships out pallets and pallets of bags daily to the entire country.

Hilex Poly also hired the Gallatin Group, a public affairs and lobbyist group, to assist it in its public relations. Representatives of Hilex Poly have formed a committee called "No on the bag ban." That committee has mailed Hailey residents non-recyclable cards and taken out newspaper advertisement urging residents to vote "no" on the initiative. The Hilex Poly committee has also created a website and placed an ad on Facebook.

At the time of this letter, the committee has not reported the receipt of any contribution or payment of any expenditure. Knowing what it costs to print post cards and take out ads, we presume that Hilex Poly, through its committee, is spending thousands of dollars to defeat this local initiative.

In contrast, we have formed our own committee, as required by law. We have received small donations from local residents who support our environmental cause. But frankly, we cannot compete with Hilex Poly and its resources. We hope the citizens of Hailey will recognize that an out-of-state corporation and all its resources are being used to defeat an initiative designed to protect our environment while not affecting any loss of any jobs.

Please say "no" to out-of-state influences, "no" to New York publicists and "no" to corporate lobbyists, and vote "yes" to local control and "yes" to the Plastic Bag Reduction Act.

Brenden Finnerty, Jummy Holcomb, Telar McClure, Riley Kilmartin-Schmit, Lex Shapiro, Madi Hendrix, Erin Murphy, Maggie Williams, Chase England, Lily Richards and Haley Cooper


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