In its latest attempt to stop the growing tide of single-use bag ordinances, Save the Plastic Bag Coalition (STPBC) has again filed a lawsuit, this time against Santa Cruz County’s bag ordinance.
The ordinance, passed last September, is similar to recent bag ordinances, with the exception that it includes restaurants in the ban. In the complaint filed yesterday, STPBC appears to have abandoned any argument that the ban circumvents the California Environmental Quality Act (as was argued in the Manhattan Beach case that STPBC lost in the Supreme Court this past summer). Instead it is rehashing the argument--rejected by the Marin County Superior Court--that a local ban is somehow preempted by state law. Additionally, STPBC’s lawyer Stephen Joseph has invented a new argument suggesting that single-use plastic carryout bags somehow provide a public health and safety benefit. Read more about the complaint here and here.
CAW Executive Director Mark Murray noted,
"Mr. Joseph’s latest legal challenge to a plastic bag ban reeks of desperation. I suspect that the California Courts will reject this new legal challenge just as they have rejected all previous challenges by Mr. Joseph."
The consistent action of the courts appears to have undercut the threat that legal challenges once posed. Local officials are racing to demonstrate their leadership in combating plastic pollution by banning single-use shopping bags.
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