Rhode Island bans large balloon releases to protect wildlife

Politics

FILE- In this Sept. 11, 2010, file photo red balloons fill the sky after Nebraska scored its first touchdown against Idaho in their NCAA college football game in Lincoln, Neb. The celebration of releasing balloons into the air has long bothered environmentalists, who say the pieces that fall back to earth can be deadly to seabirds and turtles that eat them. So as companies vow to banish plastic straws, there are signs balloons are among the products getting more scrutiny. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island has banned the release of large numbers of balloons in a move to protect wildlife.

Under a new law signed Friday by Gov. Dan McKee, the state will prohibit anyone from intentionally releasing 10 or more helium balloons outdoors.

Supporters say balloon releases are an environmental nuisance that poses a serious threat to birds, marine animals and other wildlife that ingest or become entangled in balloon litter.

Violators face a fine of $100 when the new rule takes effect in November.

The new law won’t impact hot-air balloons, indoor balloon releases, or scientific and weather research.

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