Jun 14 - Court Order: SF's New Bag Ban Can Start While Case Being Decided

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It's the latest court victory for plastic bag bans.

The San Francisco Superior Court has denied a preliminary injunction request by the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition (STPBC) against San Francisco's newest version of its bag ban.

If accepted, the preliminary injunction would have prevented the ordinance from going into effect until at least seven months after the conclusion of the case, instead of the planned October 1st implementation date.

San Francisco expanded its history-making plastic bag ban last February to include all other retail stores and restaurants. A minimum charge was also added to paper and reusable bags.

STPBC sued the City a month later, claiming the ordinance violated both the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and state Retail Food Code. The motion for preliminary injunction was submitted later in May.

San Francisco had filed a Categorical Exemption under CEQA for its bag ban, and STPBC argued that an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was required under the law instead. Additionally, it alleged that restaurant bans are preempted under state health requirements.

A hearing on these merits, which are being closely watched by local governments who want to ban bags without a costly EIR and include restaurants in their ordinances, will be scheduled for a later date.

But until a ruling is decided for the case, the Court has now allowed the City to implement its ordinance starting this October.

Judge Teri L. Jackson wrote in yesterday's Order on the rejection of a preliminary injunction:

"The showing of harm is vague and speculative. The Court finds that Petitioner has not shown that the environment, the public interest and Petitioner’s members would suffer harm from denial of the injunction."