With California lawmakers poised to vote on a historic effort to phase out plastic grocery bags, the American Chemistry Council is going all out to stop the proposal before the Tuesday legislative deadline.
The Virginia-based interest group, whose members include Exxon, Dow and plastic bag manufacturers, is a well-known player in California, where it has battled environmental bills and anti-plastic city ordinances it contends hurt businesses or limit consumer choice.
The council has marshaled an expensive TV and radio ad campaign against the bag bill, unleashed a flurry of fresh donations to politicians and assembled teams of high-powered lobbyists with ties to Republicans and Democrats at the Capitol.
This month alone, at least seven state senators – including four Democrats whose votes could prove crucial – have received campaign donations directly from the council or council affiliates Exxon and the South Carolina-based bag manufacturer Hilex Poly Co.
Hilex Poly Co. also gave $10,000 to the Democratic State Central Committee of California on Aug. 5. The next day, Exxon gave the Republican Party $10,000, among other donations it has made.