Archive for June, 2010

Obama Accepts International Assistance for Gulf Spill

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Since I’ve been commenting about Obama’s lack of leadership in the gulf, and possible ulterior motives for his lack of attention to the spill, I thought it only fair that I let everyone know that our President has now decided to accept some international aid (from 12 of the 30 countries and organizations who have offered). This is from the AP (found on Yahoo):

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is accepting help from 12 countries and international organizations in dealing with the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The State Department said in a statement Tuesday that the U.S. is working out the particulars of the help that’s been accepted.

The identities of all 12 countries and international organizations were not immediately announced. One country was cited in the State Department statement — Japan, which is providing two high-speed skimmers and fire containment boom.

More than 30 countries and international organizations have offered to help with the spill. The State Department hasn’t indicated why some offers have been accepted and others have not.

I guess I remain curious as to why this is a good idea now, but was a bad idea a month ago.

Obama’s Agenda — Different Than We Were Told

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

President ObamaI have a number of things swirling around my head this week. Makes it difficult to pick where to begin. So before I move on to other things, I think I need to go back and take a look at The Obama Agenda. It appears to be quite different than what we were told during the election, and different than what the administration continues to tell us every day. Actions speak louder than words. And the actions of this administration are now speaking very loudly. If you’re not hearing it, you’re not listening.

A few quotes to get us started:

1. “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” — Rahm Emanuel

2. When Al Gore was asked about his method for communicating global warming to the people, he replied, “(U)nfortunately we still live in a bubble of unreality. And the Category 5 denial is an enormous obstacle to any discussion of solutions. Nobody is interested in solutions if they don’t think there’s a problem. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis.” (Interview for Grist in 2006.)

3. Dick Morris on socialism: “Socialism is not an epithet or even an economic philosophy. Whether a nation is socialist or not is determined by a single, simple statistic — what percent of the economy (GDP) goes to the public sector? When Obama took office, the U.S. public sector (federal, state, and local) spent about 30% of GDP. Now it is 36%. If Obamacare lives to be fully implemented, it will pass 40%.” (This quote is from last April on Morris’ website.)

What do these quotes tell us? That’s it’s OK to use a crisis to push a political agenda. That it’s OK to lie about the facts if you “know” what’s best for the country. And you never have to announce you want us to be socialists, you can move us there one step at a time by enlarging the federal government through legislation.

Economic Stimulus Package
We were told by the administration that it would save or create millions of jobs. The CBO (Congressional Budget Office) warned that by 2011 their would be NO net gain in jobs. And some economists and business experts, like those at IBD (Investors Business Daily), were predicting it would actually make things worse. That the stimulus bill was nothing more than big government spending. The result? We’ve lost millions of jobs, and the economy continues to struggle. Despite claims to the contrary, jobs and the economy have never been high on the administration’s priority list.

Health Care
We were told by the administration that their health care reform bill would lower costs and insure millions of people who are currently uninsured.  But at this point, virtually every organization is predicting that the cost of health care will continue to rise, and if businesses drop health care coverage as expected, it’s possible that we’ll end up with MORE uninsured people than we have now. We were repeatedly lied to about the costs of the bill. By ignoring tort reform and competition for insurance companies across state lines, it’s clear that reducing costs was never a goal of the bill. The true goal of the bill was to backdoor us into nationalized health care.

Banking Reform
This is a little more difficult for me to grasp. Banking regulations certainly aren’t in my wheelhouse. And I’m certainly open to the idea that our banking industry could use some smarter regulations and better oversight. But when the bill completely ignores two of the biggest culprits in our near banking collapse, the government run Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, it’s difficult to take the reform seriously. It’s another 2,000 page bill that even the democrats admit they don’t fully understand what it will do. And when the bill gives our federal government unprecedented power to takeover financial institutions engaging in “risky” business, I begin to get nervous. Real nervous.

The Oil Spill
I’ve written another post recently about the administration’s mistakes in the cleanup of the oil from BP’s disaster. Despite the administration’s claims that they’ve done everything they could in this crisis, they have not. They have not waived the Jones Act, and they have refused numerous offers of international aid. Why? I didn’t want to believe it, but it’s because allowing the oil spill to spiral out of control feeds their real agenda: green energy, cap and trade, and government control of our resources. There is no other intelligent conclusion.

So where is the Obama administration taking us? Down the path that even they will not name. Socialism.

Health Care Bait and Switch

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

Dr. ObamaOne of the points I made all along during the health care reform debate is that the current plan leads us down the path to a single payer, government run health care system. President Obama understands that a government run solution would never have passed Congress, so they backdoored a plan that would eventually create a single payer system. How? By making sure that businesses would be put in a situation where they couldn’t afford to comply with the new regulations and increased costs of health care coverage. The plan was never intended to reduce health care costs, but to increase them.

When President Obama said that Americans would be allowed to keep their coverage, he lied.

Many large firms including AT&T, Verizon and John Deere, have already explained how they may have to drop health care coverage for their employees. A tax change created in the new law will cost these companies millions of dollars, and it may no longer be economically viable for these companies to continue to provide health care coverage. (See this story from CNN.com.)

But what came out in a recently leaked government document is even more disturbing. We had been promised that our health care coverage would be “grandfathered” in under the new law, allowing us to keep the policies currently offered by our employers. According to a joint project that is being prepared by the departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the IRS, they have predicted that up to 51% of employers may have to relinquish their current health care coverage under the new law.

Why? Because most of these policies will lose their “grandfathered” status within the first few years.

The “midrange estimate is that 66% of small employer plans and 45% of large employer plans will relinquish their grandfathered status by the end of 2013,” according to the document. In the worst-case scenario, 69% of employers — 80% of smaller firms — would lose that status, exposing them to far more provisions under the new health law.

If a company makes even simple adjustments to their current plan, it is now considered a “new” plan and no longer subject to the “grandfathered” status. And all NEW plans must conform with the new government regulations, which will INCREASE the costs of the coverage. Just to give you some insight, 66% of small businesses and 47% of large businesses made a change in their health care plans last year that would have forfeited their grandfathered status. (See this story from IBD.)

So what do you think will happen when millions of Americans lose their health care coverage over the next few years? Don’t worry, the government will have a solution for us. It’s called government run health care.

Inept Leadership, or Something More?

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

SpockI start this post with some trepidation. I’m not sure I want to open this can of worms. I don’t want to believe that what I’m beginning to fear is real. My conservative friends are going to say, “This is what we’ve been trying to tell you.” My liberal friends are going to say, “You’re a Republican-loving idiot. And Obama is still better than Bush.”

At the end of this, I have a favor to ask, especially from my liberal friends.

To kick this off, I have three quotes that have continued to circulate through my brain. Keep these in mind as you read this post.

1. “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” — Rahm Emanuel

2.  “The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now… (B)ut only if we accelerate that transition. Only if we seize the moment.” — President Obama from his address to the nation earlier this week. Full transcript here.

3. “Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” — Spock

Reasons for Human Behavior
I’ve always loved Spock’s intellect and insight. His analytical mind, yet his openness to believe what should be unbelievable. I think we often try to make things more complicated than they need to be. Human behavior is really fairly predictable. People do things for various reasons. And typically those reasons are fairly simple. To do good. To make money. To have fun. To change the world. Accomplishing our goals may not be so simple, but the reasons for our actions typically are.

I have been approaching my criticism of President Obama and his handling, or mishandling, of this oil crisis from a fairly simple perspective. That his lack of leadership skills have dramatically compounded an environmental catastrophe. But what if there’s another purpose at play?

Rejecting International Assistance
Let’s walk through what I consider some critical mistakes by the administration. Not in plugging the damn hole, but in helping to protect our environment and coastline from the oil.

April 20: Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explodes, and oil begins gushing into the ocean.

April 23: The Dutch, who have experience cleaning up oil, offer ships outfitted with oil-skimming booms, and it proposes a plan for building sand barriers to protect sensitive marshlands. It’s been reported that these ships can remove 20,000 tons of oil and sludge per day from the ocean. According to Geert Visser, the counsul general for the Netherlands: “The embassy got a nice letter from the administration that said, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’”.

May 5: The State Department reported that thirteen international offers of aid had been tendered and the government would decide which to accept “in the next two days”. Two weeks later, it said it did not need any of them.

May 19: The administration has continued to leave BP in charge of both plugging the hole and the cleanup of the oil. When asked about the international offers, State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid told reporters “We’ll let BP decide what expertise they do need.”

Does that sound like the administration is in charge as they’ve often proclaimed?

At one point (unclear of the date), Coast Guard Lt. Commander Christopher T. O’Neil said that “all qualifying offers of assistance have been accepted.” But this is hugely misleading. There is an old law on the books called the Jones Act which limits foreign vessels from engaging in certain activities in our waters. In comparison, on day four after Katrina, then President Bush through an executive order waived the Jones Act so that we could accept international offers of aid. President Obama has chosen not to do this, thus most of the offers for aid are not “qualifying offers”. Countries have offered ships, skimmers and booms. Other countries have offered chemical dispersants that help to break down the oil in the water. BP was willing to contribute $360 million to help pay for sand berms to protect Louisiana, but this too was rejected because they were not “qualifying offers”.

A Precedent has Been Set
President Obama already has a record of saying one thing, but doing another. This certainly is not uncommon for a politician. It’s been clear since Obama took office that the economy and jobs have never been high on his priority list. The Stimulus Bill provided little stimulus. The administration said it would save and create jobs. The CBO (Congressional Budget Office) said that by 2011, the bill would have NO net affect on job creation. IBD (Investors Business Daily) predicted that it would make things worse. That it was just a big government spending bill. The administration pushed it through, and things have gotten worse. It appears to me that IBD was correct.

One of the first posts I wrote for this blog was about how Cash for Clunkers was a green program, and not a stimulus program as it was often described by the administration.

And the administration continues to press for legislation that will hurt our recovery such as cap and trade.

The administration has said that jobs are their top priority, but they’ve done little to help the economy. And much of their legislative agenda will do just the opposite.

The administration has said they’ve done everything possible to protect our coastline and environment from the oil, but the facts indicate otherwise.

“You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

Whatever Remains, However Improbable, Must be the Truth
I have repeatedly commented on what I have seen as a lack of leadership from President Obama. My criticisms began long before this crisis. And I still contend that Obama is a poor executive. Many of my liberal friends continue to tell me I’m wrong. So why has he not waived the Jones Act? Why have we rejected numerous offers of aid when it’s clear that we need the help? Why has he left BP in charge of the cleanup for so long? Can you explain this to me?

President Obama is a smart man. He is surrounded by smart people. They have a reason for their actions, and their inactions.

If it’s not poor leadership, then what is it? Is the administration using this crisis to push their own agenda? By their own words, it is clear that they are.

“The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now… (B)ut only if we accelerate that transition. Only if we seize the moment.”

Would the administration intentionally drag their feet and ignore opportunities to help cleanup the oil to further exasperate the crisis? I have a very difficult time believing that ANY President would do this. But I’m also have a hard time attributing all of these decisions to poor leadership. I’m beginning to fear that to further the cause of green energy, we have intentionally let this crisis spin out of control. It paints an ugly picture.

A Favor
So what favor do I ask, particularly of my liberal friends? Tell me why my fears are wrong. Persuade me that there’s another purpose, a reasonable plan, for why we have rejected these offers of international aid. I want to believe. I’m just finding it tough at the moment.

And as Spock would say, “Live long, and prosper”.

The Oil Spill — Let’s Share The Blame

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

Before we get into the blame game, let me make it clear that BP is the primary culprit in the current catastrophe. Nothing I’m about to write is intended to alleviate BP of any of their responsibility. But truthfully, there’s a LOT of blame to go around. Time magazine listed “The Dirty Dozen: Who to Blame for the Oil Spill”. They got much of it right. They threw a lot of people under the bus, including you and me. I’m good with that. But they missed two groups that share a significant portion of the blame. Below is their list, and their reasoning behind their inclusions to the list. (Click here for the full post from Time.) And then the two groups that SHOULD have been included on their list.

1. John Browne: Former CEO of BP because he’s accused of “cost-cutting” at BP prior to stepping down in 2007.
2. Tony Hayward: CEO of BP when the the oil leak occurred.
3. Chris Oynes: Interior Department official who oversaw the MMS until he retired at the end of May.
4. Doug Suttles: BP’s COO.
5. George Bush: too cozy with the oil industry.
6. Dick Cheney: too cozy with the oil industry.
7. The American Driver: 200 million people driving 250 million passenger vehicles.
8. Barack Obama: because he “proposed” opening new tracts for oil production prior to the crisis. (This is the one in particular that I disagree with their reasoning, and a clear indication of Time’s bias.)
9. Ken Salazar: Obama’s Interior Secretary who oversees the MMS.
10. S. Elizabeth Birnbaum: Obama’s pick to run the MMS until she was ousted on May 27th.
11. Steve Newman: CEO of Transocean, the company that owns the Deepwater Horizon rig.
12. Tim Probert: President of Halliburton, the contractor responsible for cementing the well.

Personally I find two huge omissions from this list. And the fact that a left-leaning publication like Time would miss on these does not surprise me.

CongressCongress and White House
We’ve already thrown millions of Americans under the bus, why not Congress and the White House too? And not just this Congress and the White House, but everyone who has served in Congress and the White House since 1982. Why 1982? Because “In 1982 Congress passed the ‘Federal Oil & Gas Royalty Management Act‘ which mandates protection of the environment and conservation of federal lands in the course of  building oil and gas facilities. The Secretary of the Interior designated the MMS as the administrative agency responsible for the mineral leasing of submerged OCS lands and for the supervision of offshore operations after lease issuance.” This is quoted directly from the MMS website.

What does this mean? That in 1982, Congress in their infinite wisdom, put one department in charge of collecting royalties AND providing oversight to the oil industry. They collect BILLIONS from the oil companies that go into the coffers of our government. Not to mention the corruption that has existed in this department for many years. How come our politicians never seem to understand that such an incestuous situation is a REALLY bad idea until it’s too late? Every member of Congress and every member of the White House that has allowed for this kind of situation to occur since 1982 bares some responsibility for the current catastrophe. And they run a VERY CLOSE SECOND to BP for allowing this crisis to occur.

Why did Time miss this? Because Congress in the ’80s was controlled by the left.

One of the few things President Obama has done right since this occurred was to split up the responsibilities of the MMS. Good job Mr. President.

Environmentalists
Yep. Throwing all of us environmentalists under the bus too. Why? Because oil companies DO NOT want to drill in the deep sea when safer locations could be made available to them. The President in his address to the nation the other night said that one of the reasons we need to move away from oil dependency is because we’re running out of places to drill, and that is why we’re drilling so far out into the ocean. This is misleading and disingenuous. We’ve told the oil companies that we need more oil, but have prohibited them from drilling in much safer locations such as ANWR and shallow waters where the chance of such a catastrophe would be incredibly minimized. The compromise that we’ve made is that we’ll allow oil companies to drill further out into the ocean so that we don’t have to see the oil rigs. But the deeper we drill, the greater the risk. And now this compromise has come back to bite us all in the ass. (Yes, ass is still my favorite cuss word.)

Why did Time miss blaming the environmentalists? Because many on the far left don’t want ANY domestic drilling. And Time’s reasoning for including Obama on this list (because he dared to possibly allow MORE drilling) clearly displays their bias against oil production and consumption.

Have we thrown everyone under the bus now? I hope so.

President to Speak on Oil Catastrophe Tonight

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

President ObamaThe President will address the nation tonight about the BP oil spill. Never one to let a crisis go to waste, here are my predictions on his main points tonight.

Legislation: The President will discuss legislation that he wants Congress to act upon. Likely to include our new “green economy” and “stricter regulations” for oil companies.

Taxation: Prepare for increased taxes on the oil companies. Which of course will create higher prices for us.

Investigation: The President and his staff will consider criminal charges against BP.

It is also expected that he will urge BP to create an account that will be used to help businesses and people who have been adversely affected by this crisis. Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent a letter signed by 54 Democratic senators to BP demanding that they create a $20 billion account to pay for economic damages and cleanup costs.

The President will also try to explain how his administration acted quickly and has done everything within their power to cope with the catastrophe, but news reports are beginning to spring up outlining all the ways the administration failed to accept help from other countries. Here are a few quotes from DickMorris.com:

The president’s tardy requests for international assistance and his government’s bureaucratic response to their offers demonstrates his lack of command and control. The Washington Post reports that the Obama Administration initially “saw no need to accept offers of state-of-the-art skimmers, miles of boom or technical assistance from nations around the globe with experience fighting oil spills.” Arrogantly, State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid told reporters on May 19th “we’ll let BP decide what expertise they do need.”

Two weeks after the spill started, the State Department and the Coast Guard sought to figure out what aid they could use from abroad. On May 5th, the Department reported that thirteen international offers of aid had been tendered and the government would decide which to accept “in the next two days.” Two weeks later, it said that it did not need any of them.

Now, when it is too late, the U.S. has finally accepted Canada’s offer of 10,000 feet of boom. In late May it took 14,000 feet from Mexico, two skimmers from Mexico, and skimming systems from Norway and the Netherlands. Too little too late.

Why didn’t the Administration act sooner?

Bureaucratic obstacles stopped it and the president was not involved or active enough to sweep them aside.

Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr Christopher T. O’Neil said that “all qualifying offers of assistance have been accepted.” But this bureaucratic-speak did not mention that the Jones Act – an isolationist law passed in the 1920s that requires vessels working in American waters to be built and crewed by Americans – disqualified many of the offers of assistance. But Obama could have waived the Jones Act whenever he wanted to.

A Norwegian offer of a chemical dispersant was rejected by the EPA – more bureaucracy.

When Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal sought to create sand berms to keep oil away from the coastline, the Washington Post reported that he reached out to “the marine contractor Van Oord and the research institute Deltares…BP pledged $360 million for the plan, but U.S. dredging companies – which have less than one-fifth the capacity of Dutch dredging firms — objected to foreign companies’ participation.”

Read the full article here.

The President has continued to compound his mistakes by failing to recognize how to handle a crisis. The President is a legislator and litigator by nature, thus his desire for new legislation and regulations in the face of this catastrophe. But what we need is leadership, and we’re getting precious little of it from this administration.

President Says “Ass”, Continues to Display Lack of Leadership

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

President ObamaDon’t get me wrong, I love the word “ass”. I don’t cuss often, but when I do, it generally involves the word “ass”. Such as “Sean Hannity is really an ass” or “These brownies really kick ass”. But I found the use of the word “ass” by the President very interesting on a number of levels. I don’t disapprove of President Obama using the word “ass”, though in the same situation (in a national television interview), I believe that I would have refrained from using the word “ass”. I don’t find it very presidential. Though here in my blog, I feel pretty free to use the word “ass” as much as I want.

Ass.

The President has come under fire from both the left and the right in his handling of BP’s oil spill. Most polls have shown a majority of Americans disapproving of the President’s handling of the spill. I have some other thoughts to share about this catastrophe, but they’ll have to wait till a later post. Personally, I think much of the criticism of Obama is unfair and misdirected.

So what does the President using the word “ass” have to do with a lack of leadership? Nothing. And a lot.

Plug the Damn Hole
I think that most of us understand that BP is doing everything it can to “plug the damn hole”. It’s in their own self interest to stop the flow of oil as quickly as possible. They are taking a huge hit financially and politically for this mess. As they should. But there’s really very little our federal government can do to help. They can oversee. They can consult. They can bring in experts outside of BP to contribute ideas. And they’ve done all of that. Maybe not in as timely a manner as many would have liked, but even if they had done these things from day one, the hole would still be gushing oil into the ocean.

Cleaning Up the Mess
This is certainly where our federal government should have been much more responsive. But this just again outlines how a huge bureaucracy finds it difficult to respond to any emergency quickly and efficiently. While the feds can’t plug the damn hole, they can certainly be providing more assistance to the states that will be affected by the oil. You want to be critical of the administration? Well, it’s fair to criticize the administration’s response to cleaning up this mess. They’ve allowed BP way too much authority to handle the cleanup on their own, and have not been nearly supportive enough of the needs of the states.

Anger on the Left, Empathy on the Right
People like James Carville and Spike Lee have criticized Obama’s response, and in particular, have criticized the President for not getting “angry” enough. Critics on the right have accused Obama of not having enough empathy for those affected by this tragedy. This has been a pretty hot topic in the media, but this is mostly a media driven story. And derails us from the real issues at hand.

Displaying anger or empathy does not a leader make. We have had many great leaders in our country’s history. Many of them have been emotional. And many of them have been stoic. One of my early and continuing criticisms of Obama has been his lack of leadership abilities. More on this in a moment. President Obama could have flown down to Louisiana at the beginning of this mess, railed on BP, and shown empathy for those who are being affected by the spill, but that’s not leadership. That’s theatrics. It might have played well with his supporters and the media, but would have accomplished little else.

You know what would have been more helpful and played even better? Leadership.

“So I know whose ass to kick,” said President Obama
OK, back to President Obama’s quote during his interview on NBC’s “Today” show. Why did he use the word “ass”? It wasn’t by accident. It was very much said with a purpose. The administration, and Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, have been attempting to explain to the press for weeks how angry the President is over the spill. They’ve talked about how they have the boot on BP’s neck. How the President has told BP to “plug the damn hole”. The President’s use of the word “ass” was intended to show his anger, and appease his critics. It’s spin control, nothing more.

But does a leader use the word “ass” to appease his critics? The President is incredibly thin skinned, and reactive to criticism. Not one of his more endearing traits. And not a trait of a leader.

I had a conversation with a close friend shortly after Obama was elected. I was attempting to convey the reasons I believe that Obama is not a good leader. My friend, a devout liberal, said “I feel very well lead”. Just because you like the direction we’re going, doesn’t make the President a good leader. You might want to go to a concert. A friend may drive you to the concert. You might like the concert. That doesn’t make your friend a good driver. I have spent a lot of time studying leadership and the traits of great leaders. I have seen little of these traits in President Obama. (I wrote about Obama’s failure of leadership in Healthcare Reform here.)

Media Misdirection
So what has been the latest storyline in the press about all of this? Instead of diving into why the President used the word “ass”, and why he’s being criticized by both the left and the right, the media has now made this a racial issue. Several columnists and pundits have commented how the President must be careful displaying his anger so that he’s not labeled an “angry black man”. And the media has run with it. Really? That’s the story here?

Let’s make this clear. Most of us do not care that President Obama is black. We do not view him as a “black” President. We just view him as the President. Those who would buy into Obama as an “angry black man” are the same bigots who refuse to support him because he’s black in the first place. Luckily, that’s a small percentage of our population.

California Assembly Passes Plastic Bag Ban

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Got this today from one of our industry publications. Seems to fit in well with my general complaint of government over-stepping and attempting to save us from ourselves, despite the cost.

The California Assembly has voted to prohibit grocery, liquor, convenience and drug stores from offering customers plastic bags, taking a significant step toward enacting the strongest legislation of its kind in the U.S. The bill, which passed the Assembly in a 41-27 vote, still requires approval by the state’s Senate. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has already said he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

Not only does the California bill place a ban on plastic bags, it also requires customers to be charged for using store-provided paper bags. The legislation is considered even more sweeping than an ordinance passed in San Francisco in 2007, which requires supermarkets and large drug stores to offer customers bags made only of recyclable paper, cloth or plastic that can be turned into compost.

The highly controversial bill has clear supporters and opponents. For example, the American Chemistry Council, which has feverishly lobbied against similar bans, insists the bill would serve as a $1 billion tax and threaten 500 jobs in the plastic bag manufacturing business. Conversely, many environmental groups and the California Grocers Association, are backing the bill, believing it would positively affect consumer behavior. Bill proponents also say California taxpayers spend about $25 million every year picking up and disposing of plastic bags.

If approved by the California Senate, the plastic bag ban could go into effect as early as January 2012. California would become the first state in the country to enact such a law.