As Iowa legislators try to wrap up the 2008 session in the next couple of weeks, Governor Chet Culver’s making a last-ditch appeal for an expansion of the state’s bottle deposit law. The nickel deposit does not cover containers that hold noncarbonated drinks, like water or sports drinks, and Culver wants those containers included so they’ll be recycled.
“To protect the land, the lakes, the rivers and streams that we all love,” Culver said during a Monday morning news conference, pounding his hand on the lectern to emphasize his point, “and I urge the legislature to also send me that piece of legislation.”
The top Democrat in the Iowa Senate says the governor’s not likely to get his wish, but Culver’s not giving up. Culver vows to meet individually with legislators, if necessary, to make his case. “It starts here today to once again urge the legislature to get that bill to my desk. I also heard the majority leader say that (you) never say never around here. He certainly did leave open the possibility,” Culver said. “But this is about more than one person or one branch of government. I mean, this is the right thing to do for the people of Iowa.”
According to Culver, 330 million plastic bottles — most of them empty water bottles — are thrown in the trash each year in Iowa and the governor contends it’s time to get those bottles recycled at the same high rate as pop and beer containers which are subject to the nickel deposit. “I urge environmental groups and other Iowans interested in expanding and modernizing the bottle bill to contact their legislators,” Culver said. “….I’d like to get something big done in terms of environmental legislation this session.”
Months ago Culver proposed doubling the bottle and can deposit fee from a nickel to a dime, but he quickly abandoned that idea for what he now calls a “common sense” proposal that would impose the existing nickel deposit fee on noncarbonated drink containers.