WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) There is a debate in Pennsylvania over the use of single-use plastic bags.  Should governments impose a tax or fee for plastic bags on retail stores? Eyewitness News Reporter Crystal Cranmore has the story.

Placing a tax on plastic bag use is something growing in popularity around the country. A bill now before lawmakers would make sure communities can’t impose such a tax.but environmentalists worry about the litter problem those bags create. .

Litter – like plastic bags scattered throughout a lot in Taylor -is something environmentalists fight every day to reduce. But some say pending legislation could undermine their efforts.

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would prevent local governments from imposing bans, fees or taxes on recyclable plastic bags at retail establishments

Bernie McGurl Iis the Executive Director Lackawanna River Conservation Association he says “If a local municipality wants to control them in a responsible way, I don’t think that should be controlled by the state”

He says not only does the bill preempt local authority, it doesn’t help the growing problem of pollution and stress on landfills. The bill recently passed the house and now sits in the senate.

The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors opposes the bill and in a statement to Eyewitness News says… “Although we are not aware of any of our members adopting such bans or taxes, we are concerned about the problems these bags can have on our communities.”

Jennifer Geiger, the manager at Shiels Family Market in Wilkes-Barre says the store encourages people to recycle their plastic bags and they don’t charge a fee for them. She says she supports the bill.

” I do feel the affect that it would be on customers is that its another fee and something more to worry about”

This bill does not prohibit a retailer from imposing their own charge on single-use plastic bags.  According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only three states Arizona, Idaho, and Missouri have laws preventing local governments from regulating the sale or use of plastic bags, including the imposition of any fees