Don’t Restrict Right to Ban Pollutants

Plastic Bag Litter

Target: Missouri Rep. Dan Shaul

Goal: Don’t stop citizens from banning wasteful plastic bags at grocery stores.

A Missouri lawmaker wants to make it illegal for cities to ban the wasteful plastic grocery store bags that are responsible for a huge amount of the plastic waste that ends up in our natural ecosystems, particularly the ocean. This is a clear infringement on the right of local citizens to decide for themselves whether they want to reduce the plastic pollution that contaminates the environment around their homes.

The legislation is sponsored by Rep. Dan Shaul, who is also the state director of the Missouri Grocers Association. Critics have pointed out the conflict of interest in this case, as Shaul clearly has a financial motivation to ban restrictions on the cheap plastic bags that grocery stores rely on. He says it should be the right of grocery stores and “consumers” to decide what bags they use, apparently failing to realize that these same consumers are the ones pushing for plastic bag bans all over the country.

The only reason to ban the right of his constituents to decide whether their cities and towns should restrict the use of destructive plastic bags is because he’s in the pocket of grocery companies. Because of his greed, he could be responsible for the continuing flood of plastic waste that pours into our oceans every year, killing marine life. Sign this petition to demand that Shaul withdraw this bill immediately.


Dear Representative Shaul,

Your proposed bill to ban cities and towns in Missouri from restricting the use of grocery store plastic bags is a clear infringement on the right of local citizens to make decisions for themselves. People should be able to decide if they want to clean up their communities by stopping the rampant use of the same plastic bags we see littering parks, rivers, lakes, and massive sections of the ocean.

I understand that you’re the state director of the Missouri Grocers Association. Because grocery stores profit off of the use of cheap and convenient plastic bags and are generally opposed to any legislation restricting them, this is a clear conflict of interest. You’re not only trying to ban what is essentially a function of democracy, you’re doing so to benefit large corporations that you’re associated with. This is highly unethical and unbecoming of a representative of the people.

I demand that you immediately withdraw this bill from consideration. You have no right to tell local governments what they can and can’t ban from their communities. Plastic bags are filling up our oceans, killing our wildlife, and ruining the natural beauty of this nation. As you would say, keep big government out of the business of our towns and cities.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Graham Horn via Wikimedia Commons

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