Plastic bag ban repealed after override of governor’s veto

By on October 4, 2017

The ban on the use of thin, single-use plastic bags by many retailers on the Outer Banks has been repealed, after the Republican-controlled N.C. General Assembly voted to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of a bill that amends state environmental statutes.

House Bill 56 rolls back immediately a 2009 law that blocked most stores on the barrier islands from Corolla to Ocracoke from using the bags.

Championed by former state Senate leader Marc Basnight, D-Dare, the law required retailers to offer recyclable paper bags and to give a rebate or other incentive for each re-usable bag a customer uses.

HB 56 had stalled out in June after the House and Senate passed widely different versions and had been unable to reach a compromise.

It was revived in August by the legislature in response to the GenX controversy on the Cape Fear River, and a request by Gov. Roy Cooper for $2.6 million to expand study of the chemical.

GenX is an unregulated compound used to make Teflon and other products, and has been found in the main water supply for the City of Wilmington.

Lawmakers approved $435,000 to be split between the Wilmington-area water utility and UNC Wilmington for studies.

Another section in the bill creates a coastal storm damage mitigation fund to pay for beach re-nourishment. The fund would have several sources of revenue, although none are specifically designated, and local governments would have to match state funds for a project.

The provision to repeal the bag ban was added to the bill earlier this summer by Sen. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, after a separate repeal measure introduced by Rep. Beverly Boswell, R-Dare, failed to advance in the state House.

Cook and Boswell voted in favor of the bill on Aug. 30. Rep. Bob Steinburg, R-Chowan, whose district includes Corolla, has opposed the repeal since it was originally introduced in the spring, but missed the vote because of a previously scheduled personal appointment.

Boswell, Cook and Steinburg voted in favor of the override on Wednesday.

The Dare County Board of Commissioners and the town boards of Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head, along with The Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce, passed resolutions or sent letters to Boswell and Cook opposing the repeal.

Citizen and small business opposition to the rollback focused mostly on lobbying Cook and Boswell, rather than taking on the larger chains with locations in the area who remained silent on the issue.

The repeal effort had the support of the N.C. Retail Merchants Association and several conservative-leaning statewide groups.

An option to implement a ban on the local level is not available, without the General Assembly approving a referendum being held.

This is a developing story, check back soon for more details.


  • Jim

    Make local bag laws then.

    Wednesday, Oct 4 @ 1:55 pm
  • chaser

    Big Bill Cook…..too hungry to use paper.

    Wednesday, Oct 4 @ 2:03 pm
  • dave

    Idiots. Buh-Bye Bev!

    Wednesday, Oct 4 @ 2:48 pm
  • John J Kleis


    Wednesday, Oct 4 @ 3:51 pm
  • Really?

    Hahahaaa!!! Now what’s next? Keep beating that dead horse. Got to be painful to write this article! Lol !! Let the tears flow AGAIN!

    Wednesday, Oct 4 @ 4:35 pm
  • Really?

    And you people thought RINO steinburg was going to save the precious bag ban!!! Fooled again!

    Wednesday, Oct 4 @ 4:38 pm
  • MSgt-OBX

    Bev “The Bag Lady” Boswell strikes again! Remember this a year from now.

    Wednesday, Oct 4 @ 6:26 pm

    It is interesting to note that ONLY the beach area stores were covered by this ban….R. I. and the mainland were not.

    Wednesday, Oct 4 @ 6:28 pm
  • Candy Cane

    Squeaky Wheels still don’t outnumber people who silently wait with more than a fleeting passing of common sense.

    Thursday, Oct 5 @ 4:04 pm
  • Really?

    Exactly XZDC, they will tell you it was “championed” by marc but have NEVER brought up the fact that closest store to Marc’s house will serve you plastic. Why is the hypocrisy never mentioned???

    Thursday, Oct 5 @ 4:07 pm
  • Ruthless

    All of the big box and big grocery stores are on the beach. These are the distributors of the wretched bags.

    Thursday, Oct 5 @ 4:41 pm
  • Carter McKay

    Humanity is facing the greatest threat of Nuclear War since the Cuban Missile Crisis and we have crybabies on the verge of a mental breakdown over plastic bags! Talk about misplaced priorities!

    Thursday, Oct 5 @ 5:44 pm
  • Manteoer

    To those of you whom always point out the fact that R.I. was not included in the ban:

    Being you always take jabs at the retired Senator I can only assume you are hailing from the other side of the political spectrum. So, you most likely tout that you are pro-small business. With this being said you should be praising the fact R.I. was left of the legislation, as it kept small businesses and single owned companies from being impacted.

    Also, many of you insinuate the man did it for his own benefit, so he could roll around in plastic bags every time he went to Food-A-Rama or Star Value. To you all I say please go by the man’s restaurant. Everything which is plastic that has a decomposable substitute the substitute is being used. These substitutes are at a much high cost than their plastic counterparts. So, the man is taking a hit in his pocket every time someone takes a togo box or take-out cup from his business.

    I would conclude to say, I believe the Senator truly believes in his legislation and is not hypocritical in his pursuit to rid the Outer Bank’s and its surrounding waterways of plastic waste. The fact that I have never seen him use anything but reusable bags when I have seen him at the grocery, (normally at Harris Teeter and not on R.I.), and the fact he puts his own money towards the effort by using compostable products within his business are both the FACTS which lead me to my OPINION.

    Friday, Oct 6 @ 2:49 am
  • Susan Powers

    Even though there isn’t an official ban on plastic bags, each individual can make the choice not to use them. Use re-usable bags instead. Or if you only have a few items, just carry them. Every little bit helps.

    Friday, Oct 6 @ 6:13 am
  • dave

    Carter McKay: Small minds tackle small problems/issues.

    Friday, Oct 6 @ 8:12 am
  • Ruthless

    Makes more sense to try to save the environment locally than to practice hiding under our desks in preparation for nuclear attack.

    Saturday, Oct 7 @ 2:10 pm
  • Carter McKay

    Ruthless, North Carolina has 100 counties; however, the original legislation that was overturned only covered Currituck, Dare and Hyde Counties. So, places like the Great Smokey Mountains, Pisgah National Forest, Blue Ridge Parkway, Grandfather Mountain, Chimney Rock State Park, Mount Mitchell and Cherokee National Forest just to name a few were left out. Had there been a bona fide effort to safeguard and protect the environment, then the original legislation would have sheltered the entire state. This legislation was a disingenuous environmental effort that was nothing more that a pathetic politcal stunt!

    Monday, Oct 9 @ 2:49 pm
  • Maureen

    i have seen it suggested that you download the Marine Debris Tracker and track ever plastic bag you find. This past year, i have picked up 5 plastic bags on the east side of the beach road. I imagine that number will go up exponentially with the repeal. To the person who says we should be worrying about Nuclear War, cant we be concerned about both?

    Thursday, Oct 12 @ 7:11 am