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Would-be first plastic bag ban in Idaho goes down

Voters in a small Idaho town have defeated what would have been the state's first ban on plastic grocery bags. The measure in Hailey, Idaho went down with only 42 percent in favor in Tuesday’s election.

It was a group of local teens that collected the signatures to get the bag ban on the ballot. Lex Shapiro is co-president of the high school environmental club. She says her group’s campaign was out-funded by the plastic bag manufacturer Hilex Poly, which owns a nearby plastic bag plant.

Lex Shapiro: “It's not as easy for us because we are a group of 20 kids who have to go to school every day and then within the last two months or so they have hired a lobbyist group out of Portland to campaign against us doing bulk mailing and calling people.”

Hilex Poly argued to Hailey voters that the ban could threaten the jobs of 125 plastic bag plant workers in Jerome, Idaho.

Members of the environmental club plan to try again, but in a different town. The students believe Ketchum, near the Sun Valley area, would be more receptive to the ban.

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

Inland Northwest Correspondent Jessica Robinson reports from the Northwest News Network's bureau in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. From the politics of wolves to mining regulation to small town gay rights movements, Jessica covers the economic, demographic and environmental trends that are shaping places east of the Cascades.