Mar 1 - San Francisco Sued Over New Bag Ban

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In a desperate attempt to stop the growing tide of plastic bag bans (41 and counting in CA!), the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition (STPBC) continues to threaten litigation against local jurisdictions, filing a lawsuit yesterday against San Francisco.

Earlier lawsuits focused on California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance, arguing that a ban on plastics would increase paper bag usage, resulting in significant adverse environmental impacts such as higher greenhouse gas emissions. A later lawsuit raised Prop 26 issues.

Already the group has lost CEQA-based challenges in the State Supreme Court and Marin County Superior Court in cases where a local government passed an ordinance without using an environmental impact report.

Its latest tactic has been to sue local governments with bag bans covering restaurants, claiming absurdly that Retail Food Code preempts the bans when in fact no public health or safety requirements require restaurants to provide carryout plastic bags for any reason, let alone in order to protect public health. The City of Dana Point, poised to pass a similar restaurant bag ban as well as a food takeout container ban later this year, appears to agree with us on this. Read more about Dana Point's ordinances and its attorney's opinion of STPBC's arguments on our blog.

The City and County of San Francisco recently expanded its history-making plastic bag ban (the first in the nation in 2007) to include restaurants and other stores and place price requirements on allowed bags.

The two causes of action in the petition are focused on CEQA compliance and the bag ban in restaurants. Stay tuned for more updates as CAW prepares to weigh in.

Read an article here.