Marin Plastic Bag Ban Attacked in Court

February 25, 2011 – By Mason Williams

Save the Plastic Bag Coalition has filed a lawsuit to halt a plastic bag ban in Marin County. The lawsuit takes aim at an ordinance, passed in January, that prohibits plastic bags at all grocery stores in unincorporated Marin County. The law also imposes a 5 cent fee on the use of paper bags. The law’s intent is to reduce plastic waste and encourage the use of reusable shopping bags.

Save the Plastic Bag Coalition is arguing that Marin violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by failing to commission an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the ordinance.

Plastic bag opponents argue that the environmental impacts of plastic bag usage are already widely understood and an EIR would be superfluous. Only 5% of plastic bags being recycled each year and 60-80% of debris in the Pacific Ocean is plastic waste.

Stephen Joseph, an attorney for Save the Plastic Bag Coalition explains, “We’re suing based on the fact that the plastic bag ban issue requires science, namely environmental science, before a rational, intelligent decision can be made.”

Although Save the Plastic Bag Coalition is actively fighting to prevent anti-plastic bag ordinances, they claim to have no affiliation with the American Chemistry Council, a leading petroleum industry interest group. In fact, Save the Plastic Bag Coalition claims to be pro-environment and asserts plastic bag bans have adverse consequences.

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