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Industry group fighting Seattle plastic-bag tax

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AP Photo/Elaine Thompson/FILE

(Read caption) Isaiah McDaniel bags groceries into a customer's cloth bags at PCC Natural Market in Seattle. In July, the city council enacted a 20-cent tax on plastic shopping bags, a measure that is being challenged by an industry group.

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The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported last week that the American Chemistry Council spent $180,625 in August fighting a 20-cent fee on paper and plastic shopping bags.

The "green fee," which also imposes a tax on Styrofoam containers, was approved by Seattle's city council in July and is set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2009. But the ACC, an Arlington, Va.-based trade group that mainly represents plastics and chlorine manufacturers, has been trying to have the issue put to a citywide referendum. To that end, the the Coalition to Stop the Seattle Bag Tax, which consists of the ACC and 7-Eleven, Inc., has collected about 22,000 signatures to get the referendum on the ballot. (That works out to about $8 per signature, notes the P-I.)

If the coalition's efforts are successful – and the Seattle Times reports that it looks like they will be – then the ordinance will be held off until the voters decide to accept or repeal it. The earliest it would go on the ballot is August 2009.

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