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RI lawmakers urged to ban plastic bags

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Environmental advocates are urging Rhode Island lawmakers to ban plastic bags to reduce litter and protect wildlife and water quality.

A House committee reviewed the proposal Thursday. It would prohibit retailers from handing out plastic shopping bags, though stores could still provide paper bags at a cost of 10 cents per bag.

More than 7,300 people have signed a petition urging lawmakers to pass the legislation. Another 130 businesses have endorsed the plan too.

Last year Barrington became the first town in Rhode Island to ban plastic bags, joining cities like San Francisco, Westport, Conn., Seattle and Los Angeles. The bags are also prohibited throughout Hawaii.

Environmental groups say bags are a major pollutant in Narragansett Bay and local waterways and pose a threat to wildlife.