Backers of bottle bans have that winning feeling
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Mr. Byrne-Massaro and his colleagues hope that $100,000 can be raised to promote the planned initiative petition that they anticipate will be countered by $1 million in spending by the opposition.Skip to next paragraph
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In California, Ross Pumfrey, who is spearheading a drive for a state bottle law using an initiative petition, says his group's goal is $1 million. Part of this would be used for a paid staff to work with a small army of volunteers who will be needed early next year to collect some 346,000 voter signatures for putting the question on the state ballot.
The bottle and can industry and others bent on blocking passage of the proposal will pour as much as $6 million into opposing it, Mr. Pumfrey estimates , based on what these groups have invested in other states.
Pumfrey says his Californians Against Waste group has raised some $75,000 thus far.
Since 1975, state Sen. Omer Rains, a Ventura Democrat, has been filing bottle-law legislation in California with little success. His current measure is expected to come up in mid-August in the California Senate's Natural Resources and Wildlife Committee, but prospects for a favorable report are uncertain. Only once in the last six years has such a proposal reached the floor of either California legislative chamber.
In Massachusetts, where lawmakers approved a bottle bill two years ago only to have it vetoed by Gov. Edward J. King, a new measure appears to have even-broader legislative support. But it may still fall short of the two- thirds needed to override another veto.
Governor King, who visited Michigan for two days in June to check on how that state's bottle law is working, has not said whether he would reject a new bottle bill.
If the Bay State measure fails, its supporters seem likely to launch an initiative-petition drive. A similar effort in 1976 was narrowly beaten in a bitterly contested campaign in which opposition forces spent $2.3 million, much of it from out-of-state sources. Backers of the measure spent less than $50,000 .
Perhaps the nation's most-determined bottle-law advocates are in Washington State. Their 1982 drive, now being planned, will be the third try to gain passage of the measure by ballot initiative. Similar petitions in 1970 and 1979 were beaten. In the 1979 effort, supporters were outspent by about 10 to 1 by bottle and can industry interests. "This time we will need at least $200,000," projects Christine Chapman, executive director of Washington Citizens for Recycling. To get on next year's ballot, 138,000 voter signatures will be needed.
Although New York State legislators thus far have failed to pass a deposit law, supporters are increasingly optimistic.
"We've got a lot going for us," asserts attorney Henry Neale Jr., chairman of the Westchester County Environmental Management Council. He notes that several local governments have approved resolutions urging passage of the law.
The new Delaware statute replaces one that tied implementation of the state's ban on no-deposit bottles to passage of a similar law in neighboring Maryland and Pennsylvania.