PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A South Dakota bill aimed at stopping local governments from creating plastic straws, plastic bags and other “auxiliary containers” ban has moved forward in Pierre. The bill passed the full Senate in late January, and on Wednesday moved forward in a House committee.
The bill now moves to the House floor, before potentially ending up on Gov. Kristi Noem’s (R-SD) desk. This is similar legislation to neighboring states like North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa.
A majority of states have enacted “preemption” laws, while some of the more populated states like New York and California have passed some sort of plastic bans.
In Wednesday’s House Commerce and Energy Committee, lawmakers heard from several for an against the legislation.
Sen. John Wiik (R-Big Stone City) is the lead sponsor of the bill. He said his goal is to create fairness for businesses in the state.
He argued a ban at a local level would stifle innovation in plastics and hurt businesses attempting to use economies of scale. For instance, a gas station with a location in Sioux Falls, Tea and Harrisburg. If Sioux Falls were to pass a plastic bag ban, the owner of that store would need to purchase a different type of bag for that location.
Wiik also said South Dakota State University and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology could be looking into corn- or soy-based polymer.
“It’s okay for standards to be state-wide,” Wiik said. “This is a common-sense business-friendly (bill) for South Dakota.”
The South Dakota Retailer’s Association also is for the bill, citing similar concerns. A lobbyist for the group argued they encourage local businesses to change bags if they would like to.
“We’re South Dakota. This isn’t a place where we want patchwork regulation,” Bill Van Camp testified.
He also argued plastic bag contamination isn’t a South Dakota issue, but rather an issue across the globe in Africa and Asia.
“We need to keep in mind that a lot of what we’re trying to address here isn’t relevant to the State of South Dakota,” Van Camp said.
However, South Dakota’s rivers do feed, eventually, into the Gulf of Mexico.
A four-year study by the group Adventure Sciences, used volunteers to collect water samples to look for microplastics.