Standing behind a huge banner reading, "Support SB130 The Bottle Bill," dozens of high school students from as far away as Smithfield, Cache County, rallied on the steps of the state Capitol Friday.
The students, who want lawmakers to approve a bill calling for a five-cent deposit on beverage containers, piled cans and bottles on the steps to demonstrate the need for recycling."It's fitting that bees and flies are hovering over these because that's what happens in the streets," Sen. Karen Shepherd, D-Salt Lake, told the enthusiastic group.
The bill's sponsor, Sen. Robert Steiner, D-Salt Lake, called the bill a first step and said it is scheduled to be heard Monday by the Senate Energy, Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee.
The bottle bill was one of two measures that are products of the Democratic task force on environmental affairs. The second, sponsored by Rep. David Jones, D-Salt Lake, calls for a $1 fee on every vehicle registered in Utah. The money collected under HB360 would be used to plant trees along the state's highways to help offset the effects of pollutants discharged by motor vehicles.
"Trees are a true antidote to air pollution. They can absorb 45 pounds of air pollution a year," Jones said.
Jones said all funds collected would be used in the county of origin.
Peter Billings, state chairman of the Utah Democratic Party, said at a press conference Friday that the bills were formulated on the premise that "those who cause pollution ought to pay for it."