Bill Would Ban Balloon Releases From Arizona Skies
A Tempe lawmaker has followed up on a local Girl Scout troop's request asking for a ban on balloon releases into the atmosphere in Arizona.
Democratic state Rep. Mitzi Epstein equated it to throwing trash out of a car window, and called it just as damaging to the environment.
Her bill, HB 2339, would make it illegal to release balloons into the atmosphere "for any reason,'' including any promotional activity or product advertisement.
The balloons, Epstein told Capitol Media Services, are "the most lethal kind of pollution for birds and for every other kind of wildlife out there.''
Liberty Wildlife conservationist Doris Pedersen has backed the bill, in part because she sees Mylar balloons that drift into Arizona waterways as particularly deadly.
"For waterfowl," she said for example, "the shiny Mylar balloons goes in there. And also, the plastic goes in there from the nylon. And they mistake them for jellyfish or other kinds of food that they're supposed to eat."
House Majority Leader Warren Petersen called the bill "government gone wild" to penalize a child for losing a balloon.
The bill, however, makes allowances for accidental releases of up to five balloons, and only requires the offender serve time picking up trash through community service.