Has Concord, Massachusetts Lost Its Way in Banning Liquid Plastic Water Bottles?
Lexington and Concord, two fabled cities from the early days of the American Revolution.
The Minutemen assembled to smite the British Redcoats in the fight to throw off the British yoke and acquire freedom.
The voters of Concord at a town meeting voted on April 25, 2012 approved Article 32, which banned the sale of single serving plastic water bottles of one liter or less in size.
The ban takes effect on January 1, 2013. The first offense will result in a warning, the second in a $25 fine, and the third and more a $50 fine. It was approved on a 403-364 vote. A total of 767 voters in a town of 17,688 residents in the 2010 census made the decision.
The ordinance contains two exceptions. The first is in times of emergency, and the second grants the power to the Council to suspend the ordinance if the cost of implementing or enforcing becomes unreasonable.
Jane Hill, a 84 year old grandmother of 6, fought for two years to enact the ban. She told the Boston Herald that she was motivated by environmental concerns and that businesses could recoup their losses by selling reusable bottles, which could be refilled from the tap. The contention is that such a ban will cut down pollution and limit exposure to toxic chemicals.
Concord became the first city, town, village, or state to ban plastic water bottles. Is Concord, the so-called "Cradle of Democracy," leading a second revolution or simply acting out of misguided naïveté?
By limiting the proscription to water, it excludes sparkling water, juice bottles, Gatorade, canned sodas, Red Mountain, Mountain Dew, indeed, any artificially sugared, sweetened, or flavored beverage, all of which are more fattening than plain water.
Second, while it bans the sale of these water bottles, it does not ban their possession. Thus, any Concord resident can purchase these waters from merchants in surrounding communities. These merchants are positively salivating over the sale of water. Get your Poland Springs in Acton, Bedford, Carlisle, Lincoln, Maynard, or Sudbury, the towns surrounding Concord. Or travel to a Costco or Sams Club to stock up.
Just carry your plastic water bottle in a brown paper bag, or consume a 24oz. Water.
Concord merchants will take a hit with no meaningful improvement in the environment.
Third, it positively denies freedom of choice as the state now tells us what we cannot purchase good, clean healthful water. If we wanted to drink tap water, we would do so.
You can buy cigarettes in Concord, but not water. That makes no sense. Even the University of California Berkeley refused to remove plastic water bottles from the campus.
Maine tried something just as dumb a couple of decades ago. It banned the sale in the state of the ascetic juice packs, those juice packs loved by parents. The parents could then go to New Hampshire to purchase booze and juice paks. The ban was repealed within three years.
Governor Madeline Kunin of Vermont, a progressive state, tried to enact a ban for environmental reasons on the sale of disposable diapers in the state. That went nowhere.
The Concord act illustrates the petty tyranny of the Nanny State. A few do-gooders believe they know what's best for all of us, and then force their will on all of us.
Occasionally these acts can be reversed through economic or political realities. Clint Eastwood, for example, ran for Mayor of Carmel in 1986 to overturn the ban on the sale or eating ice cream cones on the public streets. The Carmel City Council refused to grant a permit for a nice cream stand. he campaigned on the plank of doing away with the kill-joy mentality. He won overwhelmingly, and to this day you can eat ice cream cones in public in Carmel, California.
Concord is defying common sense and economic reality with this ban. It will not stand the test of time.
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